Industrial Inorganic Chemistry, Second, Completely Revised Edition

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Industrial Inorganic Chemistry, Second, Completely Revised Edition

Karl Heinz Buchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto Peter Woditsch Industrial Inorganic Chemistry Karl Heinz Buchel Hans-Heinrich

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Karl Heinz Buchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto Peter Woditsch

Industrial Inorganic Chemistry

Karl Heinz Buchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto Peter Wodit sch

Industrial inorganic Chemistrv

Second, Completely Revised Edition

Translated by David R. Terrell


Weinheim - New York Chichester - Brisbane Singapore - Toronto

Professor Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Karl Heinz Buchel Member of the Board of Directors of Bayer AG D-5 I368 Leverkuaen Professor Hans-Heinrich Moretto Bayer AG Central Research D-5 1368 Leverkusen Professor Dr. Peter Woditsch Bayer AG CH-BS D-47829 Krefeld

This book was carefully produced. Nevertheless, authors, translator and publisher do not warrant the information contained therein to be free of errors. Readers are advised to keep in mind that statements, data, illustrations, procedural details or other items may inadvertently be inaccurate.

First Edition 1989 Second, Completely Revised Edition 2000 First Reprint 2003

Library of Congress Card No.: Applied for. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data: A catalogue record for this book is available from the Britiah Library. Deutsche Bibliothek Cataloguing-in-Publication Data: A catalogue record for this publication is available from Die Deutsche Bibliothek

0 WILEY-VCH Verlag CmbH. D-69469 Weinheim (Federal Republic of Germany), 2000 Printed on acid-free and chlorine-free paper.

All rights reserved (including those of translation in other languages). No part of this book may be reproduced in any form - by fotoprinting, microfilm, or any other means - nor transmitted or translated into a machine language without written permission from :he publishers. Registered names, trademarks, etc. used in this book, even when not hpecifically marked as such, are not to be considered unprotected by law. Composition: Graphik & Text Studio, D-93 I64 Laaber-Waldetzenberg Printing: Straws Offsetdruck, D-69509 Morlenbach Bookbinding: Buchbinderei J. Schlffer, D-67269 Griinstadt Printed in the Federal Republic of Germany

Preface to the Second English Edition In the more than 10 years, since the publication of the first edition of the book “Industrial Inorganic Chemistry”, the structure of inorganic industrial chemistry has not changed fundamentally. In most sectors the “state of the art” has been expanded and refined. This is addressed together with the updating of the economic data in this new edition. The pressure for change in the meantime was due in particular to globalization of the World economy and the resulting pressure for cost reduction through new and optimalized processes and to an expanding knowledge of ecological requirements e.g. energy saving and new production and development principles such as quality assurance and responsible care. To the extent that it is discernible in the products and processes, appropriate aspects have been incorporated in the revision, for example see membrane technology in the chloralkali and hydrochloric acid electrolysis. Expansion of the sections on the products of silicon chemistry, silanes, heavy duty ceramics and photovoltaics reflects their increased importance. Chapter 6 over the Nuclear Fuel Cycle has been updated as regards technical developments and in particular as regards its societal and political context. In inorganic chemistry there have been important changes particularly in inorganic materials such as new composite materials and so-called nano-materials, in the area of photovoltaics and in catalysis. Since these have not yet been widely used industrially, they have not been covered in the second edition of this book. In the revision of this book numerous colleagues have assisted us, we particularly wish to thank: Dr. J. Becker, Uranerzbergbau GmbH, Wesseling Dr. H.-D. Block, Bayer AG Frau G. Blum, Bayer AG Dr. U. Brekau, Bayer AG Dip1.-Ing. A. Bulan, Bayer AG Dr. G. Buxbaum, Bayer AG Dr. L. Puppe, Bayer AG Dr. F. Gestermann, Bayer AG Dr. Ch. Holzner, Bayer AG

Dr. H. Lange, Bayer AG Dr. J. Liicke, CFI GmbH & Co. KG, Rodenthal Dr. R. Miinstedt, Bayer AG Dr. W. Ohlendorf, Bayer AG Dr. K. Tagder, Wirtschaftsverband Kernbrennstoff-Kreslauf e.V., Bonn Frau Dr. H. Volker, Gottingen Dr. G. Wagner, Bayer AG Frau M. Wiegand, Bayer AG Dr. K. Wussow, Bayer AG

We also thank Wiley-VCH for their patience and understanding in the production of the new edition and its excellent presentation. Leverkusen. Autumn 1999

The Authors



Preface to the First English Edition “Industrial Inorganic Chemistry” was first published in German in 1984. The book was well received by students and teachers alike, leading to the publication of a second German edition in 1986. The publishers, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, were convinced that a wide circle of readers would welcome the appearance of our book in the English language, and their encouragement has led to the preparation of the present up-dated and revised edition in English. The basic structure of the German Edition has been retained. Changes in the industrial importance of some compounds and processes since the appearance of the German edition have been taken into account and data relating to the US market have been emphasised. Thus the chapter on potassium permanganate has been considerably abridged and that on the membrane process for the manufacture of chlorine and sodium hydroxide expanded. We are indebted to Dr Podesta and Dr Heine from Bayer AG for their assistance in the revision of the German edition in addition to the institutions and colleagues mentioned in the preface to the German edition. The book was translated by Dr D. R. Terrell from Agfa-Gevaert N V , to whom we are particularly grateful for the patience and care he devoted to this difficult task. We also wish to acknowledge the contribution of VCH Verlagsgesellschaft in producing this edition. Leverkusen. Autumn 1988

K. H. Buchel



Preface to the First German Edition The book “Industrielle Anorganische Chemie” will fill a long term need, which has become even more apparent since the appearance of “Industrielle Organische Chemie” by Wessermel and Arpe*. Although there are comprehensive chapters on this branch of chemistry in a number of encyclopedias and handbooks, a single volume text is lacking that describes concisely the current state of industrial inorganic chemistry. The authors have been made aware of this need in discussions with students, young chemists, colleagues in neighboring fields, teachers and university lecturers and willingly accepted the suggestion of the publishers to write this text. Changes in the supply of raw materials and their markets and economic and ecological requirements are responsible for the continual reshaping of the inorganic chemical industry. As a result the treatment of industrial processes in the available textbooks seldom keeps pace with these developments. The inorganic chemical industry is an important branch of industry and its structure is particularly diverse: including a large number of finished products (mineral fertilizers, construction materials, glass, enamels and pigments to name but a few) and basic products for the organic chemical industry such as mineral acids, alkalis, oxidizing agents and halogens. Modern developments in other branches of industry, such as chips for microelectronics, video cassettes and optical fibers have only been possible due to the continuous development of the inorganic chemical industry. This book emphasises the manufacturing processes, economic importance and applications of products. In the sections on production the pros and cons are considered in the context of the raw material situation, economic and ecological considerations and energy consumption, the different situations in different countries also being taken into account. Processes which are no longer operated are at most briefly mentioned. The properties of the products are only considered to the extent that they are relevant for production or applications. It was necessary to restrict the material to avoid overextending the brief. Metallurgical processes have not been included, except for the manufacture of “chemical” metals (e.g. alkali metals) which is briefly described. Several borderline areas with organic chemistry are considered (e.g. organophosphorus, -silicon and -fluoro products), others are deliberately excluded. A whole chapter is devoted to the nuclear fuel cycle, since it involves so much industrial scale inorganic chemistry and is currently so important. The layout follows that of its sister book “Industrielle Organische Chemie” with the main text being supplemented by marginal notes. These are essentially summaries of the main text and enable the reader to obtain a rapid grasp of the most important facts. The equations are printed on a gray background for the same reason. At the end of each main section a generally subtitled list of references is provided. This should enable the reader to obtain more detailed information on particular matters with the minimum of effort. In addition to references to original papers and reviews, readers are referred to the important



handbooks: Ullmann, Winnacker-Kuchler and Kirk-Othmer. The Chemical Economic Handbook of the Stanford Research Institute has frequently been used for economic data. The documentation system at Bayer AG was invaluable in gathering the important facts for this book. Numerous colleagues have assisted us: Outside Bayer AG our thanks are due to Prof. P. Eyerer from Stuttgart University, Dr H. Grewe from Krupp AG, Essen, Dr Ch. Hahn from Hutschenreuther AG, Selb, Dr G. Heymer from Hoechst AG, Knapsack Works, Dr P. Kleinschmit from Degussa, Dr G. Konig from Martin & Pagenstecher GmbH, Krefeld, Dr R, Kroebel from the Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Dr G. Kuhner from Degussa AG, Prof. F. W. Locher from the Forschungsinstitut der Zementindustrie, Dusseldorf, H. Schmidt from the Ziegeleiforschungsinstitut, Essen, Dr M. Schwarzmann and his colleagues from BASF AG and Dr E. Wege from Sigri Elektrographit GmbH, Meitingen, for technical advice and critical perusal of sections of the manuscript. Inside Bayer AG our thanks are due to Dr H.-P. Biermann, Dr G, Franz, Dr P. Kiemle, Dr M. Mansmann, Dr H. H. Moretto and Dr H. Niederprum, who with many other colleagues have helped with the technical realization of the text. In particular we would like to thank Dr Hanna Soll, who with her many years of experience has substantially contributed to the editing of this book. We also thank Verlag Chemie, which has assimilated the suggestions of the authors with much understanding and has produced this book in such an excellent form. Leverkusen, Spring 1984

K. H. Buchel



Primary Inorganic Materials 1

1.1 Water 1 1.1.1 Economic Importance 1 1.1.2 Production of Potable Water 2 Break-Point Chlorination and Ozonization 3 I . 1.2.2 Flocculation and Sedimentation 4 1 .I .2.3 Filtration 5 Removal of Dissolved Inorganic Impurities 5 Activated Charcoal Treatment 7 Safety Chlorination 8 Production of Soft or Deionized Water 8 1.1.3 Production of Freshwater from Seawater and Brackish Water 10 Production by Multistage Flash Evaporation 10 Production using Reverse Osmosis 1 1 References for Chapter 1.1: Water 13

1.2 Hydrogen 14 I .2.1 Economic Importance I4 1.2.2 Hydrogen Manufacture I5 1.2.2. I Petrochemical Processes and Coal Gasification 15 Electrolysis of Water 16 I .2.2.3 Other Manufacturing Processes for Hydrogen I7 Production of Hydrogen as a Byproduct 18 I .2.2.4 I .2.3 Hydrogen Applications 18 References for Chapter 1.2: Hydrogen 19 1.3 1.3.1

1.3.I . I 1.3.2 I .3.2.3 I .3.2.4 I .3.2.5

Hydrogen Peroxide and Inorganic Peroxo Compounds 20 Economic Importance 20 Hydrogen Peroxide 20 Sodium Perborate and Sodium Carbonate Perhydrate 20 Alkali Peroxodisulfates and Sodium Peroxide 2 1 Production 21 Hydrogen Peroxide 21 Sodium Perborate 24 Sodium Carbonate Perhydrate 25 Alkali Peroxodisulfate 26 Sodium Peroxide 26



1.3.3 Applications 27 Hydrogen Peroxide, Sodium Perborate and Sodium Carbonate Perhydrate 27 Alkali Peroxodisulfates and Sodium Peroxide 28 References for Chapter 1.3: Hydrogen Peroxide and Inorganic Peroxo Compounds 28

Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds 29 Ammonia 29 Economic Importance 29 Synthetic Ammonia Manufacture 29 General Information 29 Ammonia Synthesis Catalysts 30 Synthesis Gas Production 32 Conversion of Synthesis Gas to Ammonia 39 Integrated Ammonia Synthesis Plants 41 1.4. I .2.5 Ammonia Applications 43 References for Chapter I .4: Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds 43 1.4.2 Hydrazine 43 Economic Importance 43 Manufacture of Hydrazine 44 I . Raschig Process 44 Urea Process 45 Bayer Process 46 H,Oz Process 47 Applications of Hydrazine 48 References for Chapter 1.4.2: Hydrazine 49 I .4.3 Hydroxylamine 50 Economic Importance and Applications 50 I .4.3.2 Manufacture 50 Raschig Process 5 1 Nitrogen(I1) Oxide Reduction Process 5 1 Nitrate Reduction Process (DSM/HPO-Stamicarbon) 52 I . References for Chapter 1.4.3: Hydroxylamine 53 1.4.4 Nitric Acid 53 Economic Importance 53 Manufacture 53 I .4.4.2. I Fundamentals of Nitric Acid Manufacture 53 Plant Types 57 Process Description 58 Manufacture of Highly Concentrated Nitric Acid 59 Tail Gases from Nitric Acid Manufacture 62 Nitric Acid Applications 64 References for Chapter 1.4.4: Nitric Acid 65 1.4 1.4.1

1.5 1.5.1 1.5.1. I

Phosphorus and its Compounds 65 Phosphorus and Inorganic Phosphorus Compounds 65 Raw Materials 65

Contents Products 67 Phosphoric Acid 67 Phosphoric Acid Salts 75 Phosphorus 80 Products Manufactures from Phosphorus 85 I .5. I .2.4 References for Chapter 1.5.1: Phosphorus and Inorganic Phosphorus Compounds 90 1.5.2 Organophosphorus Compounds 9 1 Neutral Phosphoric Acid Esters 9 1 Phosphoric Ester Acids 94 Dithiophosphoric Ester Acids 94 Neutral Esters of Thio- and Dithio-Phosphoric Acids 95 Neutral Di- and Triesters of Phosphorous Acid 97 Phosphonic Acids 99 References for Chapter 1.5.2: Organophosphorus Compounds 101

1.6 Sulfur and Sulfur Compounds 101 Sulfur 101 1.6.I Occurrence 101 Economic Importance 102 Sulfur from Elemental Sulfur Deposits 102 Sulfur from Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfur Dioxide 102 Sulfur from Pyrites 103 Economic Importance I04 Applications 104 Sulfuric Acid 104 1.6.2 Economic Importance 104 Starting Materials for Sulfuric Acid Manufacture 105 Sulfuric Acid from Sulfur Dioxide 105 Sulfuric Acid from Waste Sulfuric Acid and Metal Sulfates 1 13 Applications of Sulfuric Acid 115 100% Sulfur Dioxide 1 16 1.6.3 100% Sulfur Trioxide 117 1.6.4 Disulfur Dichloride I18 1.6.5 Sulfur Dichloride 1 18 1.6.6 Thionyl chloride 119 I .6.7 Sulfuryl Chloride 1 19 1.6.8 Chlorosulfonic Acid 120 1.6.9 Fluorosulfonic Acid 120 1.6.10 Sulfurous Acid Salts 120 1.6.11 Sodium Thiosulfate, Ammonium Thiosulfate 12 1 1.6.12 Sodium Dithionite and Sodium Hydroxymethanesulfinate 122 1.6.13 Hydrogen Sulfide 124 1.6.14 Sodium Sulfide I24 1.6.15 Sodium Hydrogen Sulfide 125 1.6.16 Carbon Disulfide 126 1.6.17 References for Chapter 1.6: Sulfur and Sulfur Compounds 126




Halogens and Halogen Compounds 127 1.7 Fluorine and Fluorine Compounds I27 1.7.1 Fluorspar 127 Fluorspar Extraction 128 I Qualities and Utilization of Fluorspar 128 Fluorapatite 130 1.7.1. I .3 Fluorine and Inorganic Fluorides I30 Fluorine 130 Hydrogen Fluoride I32 Aluminum Fluoride 138 Sodium Aluminum Hexafluoride (Cryolite) 140 Alkali Fluorides 141 Hexafluorosilicates 142 Uranium Hexafluoride 142 I . Boron Trifluoride and Tetrafluoroboric Acid 142 Sulfur Hexafluoride 143 Organofluoro Compounds by Electrochemical Fluorination I44 References for Chapter 1.7.1: Halogens and Halogen Compounds 145 Chloralkali Electrolysis, Chlorine and Sodium Hydroxide 146 1.7.2 Economic Importance 146 Starting Materials 148 I .7.2.3 Manufacturing Processes 151 I . Mercury Process 152 Diaphragm Process 154 Membrane Process 157 Evaluation of Mercury, Diaphragm and Membrane Processes 158 Applications of Chlorine and Sodium Hydroxide 159 Chlorine 159 Sodium Hydroxide 160 References for Chapter 1.7.2: Chloralkali-Electrolysis 161 Hydrochloric Acid - Hydrogen Chloride 162 1.7.3 Manufacture of Hydrogen Chloride 162 Economic Importance of Hydrogen Chloride and Hydrochloric Acid 163 I .7.3.2 Electrolysis of Hydrochloric Acid 163 Non-Electrolytic Processes for the Manufacture of Chlorine from Hydrogen Chloride 164 References for Chapter 1.7.3: Hydrochloric Acid - Hydrogen Chloride 165 1.7.4 Chlorine-Oxygen Compounds 166 Economic Importance 166 Manufacture of Chlorine-Oxygen Compounds I67 I .7.4.2 I. Hypochlorite 167 I . Chlorites 170 I . Chlorates 170 I . Perchlorates and Perchloric Acid 172 Chlorine Dioxide 173 Applications of Chlorine-Oxygen Compounds 174 I .7.4.3


References for Chapter 1.7.4: Chlorine-Oxygen Compounds 175 1.7.5 Bromine and Bromine Compounds 175 Natural Deposits and Economic Importance 175 I .7.5.2 Manufacture of Bromine and Bromine Compounds 176 Bromine 176 Hydrogen Bromide I78 Alkali Bromides, Calcium Bromide, Zinc Bromide 179 Alkali Bromates 179 Applications for Bromine and Bromine Compounds 179 References for Chapter I .7.5: Bromine and Bromine Compounds 181 1.7.6 Iodine and Iodine Compounds 18 1 Economic Importance I 8 I Manufacture of Iodine and Iodine Compounds 182 Iodine 182 Hydrogen Iodide 183 Alkali Iodides 183 Alkali Iodates 184 Applications of Iodine and Iodine Compounds 184 References for Chapter I .7.6: Iodine and Iodine Compounds 185


Mineral Fertilizers 187

2.1 2.1.1 2. I. I .4 2.1.2

Phosphorus-Containing Fertilizers 187 Economic Importance I87 General Information 187 Importance of Superphosphate 188 Importance of Triple Superphosphate 188 Importance of Ammonium Phosphates I89 Importance of Nitrophosphates I89 Importance and Manufacture of Thermal (Sinter, Melt) and Basic Slag (Thomas) Phosphates 189 Manufacture of Phosphorus-Containing Fertilizers I 90 Superphosphate 190 Triple Superphosphate 191 Ammonium Phosphates 192 Nitrophosphates 195

2.2 2.2.1 2.2. I .3 2.2. I .4 2.2.2 2.2.2. I

Nitrogen-Containing Fertilizers 196 Economic Importance 196 General Information 196 Importance of Ammonium Sulfate 197 Importance of Ammonium Nitrate 197 Importance of Urea I98 Manufacture of Nitrogen-Containing Fertilizers 199 Ammonium Sulfate 199




Ammonium Nitrate 200 Urea 201

2.3 Potassium-Containing Fertilizers 205 2.3.1 Occurrence of Potassium Salts 205 Economic Importance of Potassium-Containing Fertilizers 206 2.3.2 Manufacture of Potassium-Containing Fertilizers 208 2.3.3 Potassium Chloride 208 Potassium Sulfate 2 10 Potassium Nitrate 210 References for Chapter 2: Mineral Fertilizers 2 1 1


Metals and their Compounds 213

Alkali and Alkaline Earth Metals and their Compounds 213 3.1 Alkali Metals and their Compounds 2 13 3.1.1 General Information 213 Lithium and its Compounds 2 13 Natural Deposits and Economic Importance 2 13 Metallic Lithium 214 Lithium Compounds 2 14 Sodium and its Compounds 216 General Information 216 Metallic Sodium 217 Sodium Carbonate 2 18 3.1 .I .3.3 Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate 222 Sodium Sulfate 223 Sodium Hydrogen Sulfate 225 Sodium Borates 225 Potassium and its Compounds 227 General Information 227 Metallic Potassium 227 Potassium Hydroxide 227 Potassium Carbonate 228 References for Chapter 3.1.1: Alkali Metals and their Compounds 229 Alkaline Earth Metals and their Compounds 230 3.1.2 General Information 230 Beryllium and its Compounds 23 1 Magnesium and its Compounds 231 Natural Deposits 231 Metallic Magnesium 232 Magnesium Carbonate 234 Magnesium Oxide 235 Magnesium Chloride 236 Magnesium Sulfate 237


Calcium and its Compounds 237 Natural Deposits 237 Metallic Calcium 238 Calcium Carbonate 238 Calcium Oxide and Calcium Hydroxide 239 Calcium Chloride 240 Calcium Carbide 240 Strontium and its Compounds 242 Barium and its Compounds 242 Natural Deposits and Economic Importance 242 Barium Carbonate 243 Barium Sulfide 245 Barium Sulfate 245 References for Chapter 3. I .2: Alkaline Earth Metals and their Compounds 245

Aluminum and its Compounds 246 3.2 General Information 246 3.2.1 Natural Deposits 247 3.2.2 Metallic Aluminum 248 3.2.3 Economic Importance 248 Manufacture 248 Applications 249 Aluminum Oxide and Aluminum Hydroxide 250 3.2.4 Economic Importance 250 Manufacture 250 Applications 25 1 Aluminum Sulfate 252 3.2.5 Economic Importance 252 Manufacture 252 Applications 253 Aluminum Chloride 253 3.2.6 Economic Importance 253 Manufacture 253 Applications 254 Sodium Aluminate 254 3.2.7 References for Chapter 3.2: Aluminum and its Compounds 255

3.3 3.3.1 3.3. I .3.3

Chromium Compounds and Chromium 255 Chromium Compounds 255 Economic Importance 255 Raw Material: Chromite 257 Manufacture of Chromium Compounds 258 Chromite Digestion to Alkali Chromates 258 Alkali Dichromates 260 Chromium(V1) Oxide (“Chromic Acid”) 262 Chromium(II1) Oxide 264




Basic Chromium(II1) Salts (Chrome Tanning Agents) 265 Applications for Chromium Compounds 266 3.3.2 Metallic Chromium 266 Economic Importance 266 Manufacture of Chromium Metal 267 Chemical Reduction 267 Electrochemical Reduction of Chrome Alum 267 Electrochemical Reduction of Chromium(V1) Oxide 268 References for Chapter 3.3: Chromium Compounds and Chromium 268

Silicon and its Inorganic Compounds 269 3.4 3.4.1 Elemental Silicon 269 General Information and Economic Importance 269 Manufacture 270 Ferrosilicon and Metallurgical Grade Silicon 270 Electronic Grade Silicon (Semiconductor Silicon) 272 Silicon Applications 278 3.4.2 Inorganic Silicon Compounds 279 References for Chapter 3.4: Silicon and its Inorganic Compounds 281 Manganese Compounds and Manganese 282 3.5.1 Manganese Compounds 282 Economic Importance 282 Raw Materials 283 Manufacture of Manganese Compounds 284 Manganese(I1) Compounds 284 Manganese(I1,III) Oxide (Mn,Od) and Manganese(II1) Oxide (Mn,O?) 286 Manganese(1V) Oxide 286 Potassium Permanganate 289 Applications of Manganese Compounds 292 3.5.2 Manganese - Electrochemical Manufacture, Importance and Applications 292 References for Chapter 3.5: Manganese Compounds and Manganese 293



Organo-Silicon Compounds 295


Industrially Important Organo-Silicon Compounds, Nomenclature 295

4.2 4.2.1 4.2.2

Industrially Important Silanes 296 Organohalosilanes 296 Industrial Important Silicon-functional Organo-Silanes 298 Organoalkoxysilanes 299 Acyloxysilanes 300 Oximino- and Aminoxy-Silanes 300 Amidosilanes, Silazanes 301 Organohydrogensilanes 30 1


4.2.3 Organofunctional Silanes 302 Alkenylsilanes 302 Halo-organosilanes 303 Organoaminosilanes 303 Organomercaptosilanes, Organosulfidosilanes 304 Other Organofunctional Silanes 304 References for Chapter 4.1 and 4.2: Organo-Silicon Compounds 305

4.3 4.3.1 4.3.2 4.3.3 4.3.4

Silicones 305 Structure and Properties, Nomenclature 305 Economic Importance 306 Linear and Cyclic Polyorganosiloxanes 307 Manufacture 307 Hydrolysis 307 Methanolysis 309 Cyclization 3 10 Polymerization 310 Polycondensation 3 I2 Industrial Realization of Polymerization 3 I3 Manufacture of Branched Polysiloxanes 3 14

4.4 Industrial Silicone Products 307 4.4.1 Silicone Oils 307 4.4.2 Products Manufactured from Silicone Oils 3 16 4.4.3 Silicone Rubbers 3 17 Room Temperature Vulcanizable Single Component Silicone Rubbers 3 I7 Two Component Room Temperature Vulcanizable Silicone Rubbers 3 19 Hot Vulcanizable Peroxide Crosslinkable Silicone Rubbers 320 Hot Vulcanizable Addition Crosslinkable Silicone Rubbers 320 Properties of Silicone Rubber 322 4.4.4 Silicone Resins 322 4.4.5 Silicone Copolymers, Block Copolymers and Graft Copolymers 323 References for Chapters 4.3 and 4.4: Silicones 324


Inorganic Solids 325


Silicate Products 325 Glass 325 Economic Importance 325 Structure 32.5 Glass Composition 326 Glass Manufacture 329 Glass Raw Materials 329 Melting Process 33 I Melting Furnaces 332

5.1.1 5.1 .l. I 5 . I . 1.4 I 5. I . 1.4.2



Contents Forming 334 Glass Properties and Applications 336 References for Chapter 5.1 .l: Glass 337 5.1.2 Alkali Silicates 338 General and Economic Importance 338 Manufacture of Alkali Silicates 338 Applications 340 References for Chapter 5.1.2: Alkali Silicates 340 Zeolites 340 5. I .3 Economic Importance 340 Zeolite Types 34 1 Natural Zeolites 344 Manufacture of Synthetic Zeolites 344 From Natural Raw Materials 344 From Synthetic Raw Materials 344 Modification of Synthetic Zeolites by Ion Exchange 346 Forming of Zeolites 346 Dehydration of Zeolites 347 Applications for Zeolites 347 As Ion Exchangers 347 As an Adsorption Agent 347 For Separation Processes 348 As Catalysts 349 Miscellaneous Applications 349 References for Chapter 5.1.3: Zeolites 350

5.2 5.2.1 5.2.1 .5 5.2.2 5.2.3 5.2.3. I 5.2.4 5.2.5

Inorganic Fibers 351 Introduction 35 1 Definitions, Manufacture and Processing 35 1 Economic Importance 352 Properties 352 Classification and Applications 354 Physiological Aspects 354 Asbestos Fibers 356 General and Economic Importance 356 Occurrence and Extraction 359 Applications of Asbestos Fibers 361 Textile Glass Fibers 364 General and Economic Importance 364 Manufacture 366 Applications 369 Optical Fibers 370 Mineral Fiber Insulating Materials 372 General Information and Economic Importance 372 Manufacture 373 Applications 377


5.2.6 Carbon Fibers 377 General Information and Economic Importance 377 Manufacture and Applications 380 5.2.7 Metal Fibers 384 5.2.7. I Steel and Tungsten Fibers 384 Boron Fibers 386 5.2.8 Ceramic Reinforcing Fibers 388 General information and Economic Importance 388 Oxide Fibers 389 Non-oxide Fibers 39 1 Whiskers 394 References for Section 5.2: Inorganic Fibers 395 5.3 5.3.1 5.3.2 5.3.3 5.3.4

Construction Materials 396 General Introduction 396 Lime 397 Economic lmportance 397 Raw Materials 398 Quicklime 398 Slaked Lime 400 Wet Slaking of Quicklime 400 Dry Slaking of Quicklime 401 Lime Hydrate from Calcium Carbide 401 Steam-Hardened Construction Materials 402 Applications of Lime 402 Cement 403 Economic Importance 403 Composition of Cements 404 Portland Cement 405 Raw Materials 405 Composition of Portland Cement Clinkers 405 Manufacture of Portland Cement 405 Applications of Portland Cement 409 Slag Cement 409 Pozzolan Cements 410 Alumina Cement 41 I Asbestos Cement 41 I Miscellaneous Cement Types 41 1 Processes in the Solidification of Cement 4 12 Gypsum 415 Economic Importance 4 I5 Modifications of Calcium Sulfate 416 Natural Gypsum 4 18 Natural Anhydrite 420 Fluoroanhydrite 420 Byproduct Gypsum 420




Byproduct Gypsum from the Manufacture and Purification of Organic Acids 420 Byproduct Gypsum from Flue Gas Desulfurization 42 1 Phosphogypsum 421 Processes in the Setting of Plaster 423 Coarse Ceramic Products for the Construction Industry 424 Expanded Products 425 General lnformation 425 Expanded Products from Clays and Shales 425 Raw Materials 425 Gas-forming Reactions in the Manufacture of Expanded Products 428 Manufacture of Expanded Products 429 Expanded Products from Glasses (Foam Glass) 430 Applications of Expanded Products 430 References for Chapter 5.3: Construction Materials 43 1 5.3.5 5.3.6

5.4 Enamel 430 5.4.1 General Information 432 Classification of Enamels 433 5.4.2 Enamel Frit Manufacture 437 5.4.3 Raw Materials 437 Smelting of Frits 437 Enameling 438 5.4.4 5.4.4. I Production of Coatable Systems 438 Coating Processes 439 Wet Application Processes 439 Dry Application Procesres 440 Stoving of Enamels 441 Applications of Enamel 442 5.4.5 References for Chapter 5.4: Enamel 442 5.5 5.5. I 5.5.2 5.5.3 5.5.4

Ceramics 443 General Information 443 Classification of Ceramic Products 443 General Process Steps in the Manufacture of Ceramics 444 Clay Ceramic Products 445 Composition and Raw Materials 445 Extraction and Treatment of Raw Kaolin 447 Manufacture of Clay Ceramic Batches 447 Forming Processes 448 Casting Processes 449 Plastic Forming 450 Forming by Powder Pressing 45 1 Drying Processes 452 Firing of Ceramics 452 Physical-Chemical Processes 452


Firing Conditions 454 Glazes 455 Properties and Applications of Clay Ceramic Products 455 Fine Earthenware 45.5 Stoneware 456 Porcelain 456 Rapidly Fired Porcelain 457 Economic Importance of Clay Ceramic Products 458 Specialty Ceramic Products 458 5.5.5 Oxide Ceramics 458 General Information 458 I Aluminum Oxide 460 Zirconium Oxide 46 I 5.5.5. I .3 Beryllium Oxide 462 Uranium Oxide and Thorium Oxide 462 5.5.5. I .5 Other Oxide Ceramics 463 5.5.5. I .6 Electro- and Magneto-Ceramics 464 Titanates 464 Ferrites 465 Refractory Ceramics 468 Definition and Classification 468 Alumina-Rich Products 470 Fireclay Products 470 Silicate Products 47 1 Basic Products 472 Specialty Refractory Products 473 Economic Importance 473 Nonoxide Ceramics 474 Economic Importance 475 Manufacturing Processes for Silicon Carbide 475 Refractory Silicon Carbide Products 477 Fine Ceramic Silicon Carbide Products 477 Fine Silicon Nitride Ceramic Products 478 Manufacture and Properties of Boron Carbide 480 Manufacture and Properties of Boron Nitride 48 1 Manufacture and Properties of Aluminum Nitride 482 References for Chapter 5.5: Ceramics 482

5.6 5.6.1 5.6.2 5.6.3 5.6.4

Metallic Hard Materials 484 General Information 484 General Manufacturing Processes and Properties of Metal Carbides 485 Carbides of the Subgroup of the IVth Group 487 Titanium Carbide 487 Zirconium Carbide and Hafnium Carbide 488 Carbides of the Subgroup of the Vth Group 488 Vanadium Carbide 488




Niobium Carbide and Tantalum Carbide 488 Carbides of the Subgroup of the VIth Group 489 5.6.5 Chromium Carbide 489 Molybdenum Carbide 489 Tungsten Carbide 489 Cemented Carbides Based on Tungsten Carbide 490 Thorium Carbide and Uranium Carbide 491 5.6.6 5.6.7 Metal Nitrides 492 5.6.8 Metdl Borides 493 5.6.9 Metal Silicides 494 References for Chapter 5.6: Metallic Hard Materials 495

5.7 5.7. I 5.7.2 5.7.3 5.7.4 I 5.7.5 5.7.6

Carbon Modifications 496 Introduction 496 Diamond 496 Economic Importance 496 Mining of Natural Diamonds 497 Manufacture of Synthetic Diamonds 498 Properties and Applications 500 Natural Graphite 500 Economic Importance 500 Natural Deposits and Mining 502 Properties and Applications 503 Large Scale Production of Synthetic Carbon and Synthetic Graphite 505 Economic Importance 505 General Information about Manufacture 505 Manufacture of Synthetic Carbon 506 Raw Materials 506 Processing 507 Densification and Forming 507 Carbonization 508 Graphitization of Synthetic Carbon 509 General Information 509 Acheson Process 509 Castner Process 5 10 Other Graphitization Processes 5 10 Purification Graphitization 5 1 1 Impregnation and Processing of Carbon and Graphite Articles 5 1 1 Properties and Applications 5 12 Special Types of Carbon and Graphite 5 13 Pyrolytic Carbon and Pyrolytic Graphite 5 13 Glassy Carbon and Foamed Carbon 5 I5 Graphite Foils and Membranes 5 16 Carbon Black 5 17 Economic Importance 5 18 Manufacture 5 I8

Contents XXIII General Information 51 8 Pyrolysis Processes in the Presence of Oxygen 519 Pyrolysis Processes in the Absence of Oxygen 522 Posttreatment 523 Properties and Applications 524 5.7.7 Activated Carbon 527 Economic Importance 527 Manufacture 528 General Information 8 Activated Carbon by “Chemical Activation” 529 Activated Carbon by “Gas Activation” 530 Reactivation and Regeneration of Used Activated Carbon 532 Applications of Activated Carbon 532 References for Chapter 5.7: Carbon Modifications 534 5.8 Fillers 535 5.8.1 General Information 535 5.8.2 Economic Importance 536 5.8.3 Natural Fillers 536 Silicon-Based Fillers 536 Other Natural Fibers 538 Beneficiation of Natural Fillers 538 5.8.4 Synthetic Fillers 539 Silicas and Silicates 539 Pyrogenic Silicas 539 5.8.4. I .2 Wet Chemically Manufactured Silicas and Silicates 540 Posttreatment of Silicas 541 Glasses 542 Cristobalite 542 Aluminum Hydroxide 542 Carbonates 543 Sulfates 544 Other Synthetic Fillers 545 5.8.5 Properties and Applications 545 References for Chapter 5.8: Fillers 546

5.9 5.9.1 5.9.2

Inorganic Pigments 548 General Information and Economic Importance 548 White Pigments 552 General Information 552 Titanium Dioxide Pigments 553 Economic Importance 553 Raw Materials for Ti02 Pigments 553 Manufacturing Processes for TiOz Pigments 555 Applications for Ti02 Pigments 558 Lithopone and Zinc Sulfide Pigments 559



Zinc Oxide White Pigments 560 Manufacture 560 Applications 561 Colored Pigments 561 5.9.3 Iron Oxide Pigments 561 Natural Iron Oxide Pigments 561 Synthetic Iron Oxide Pigments 563 Chromium(II1) Oxide Pigments 567 Manufacture 567 Properties and Applications of Chromium(II1) Oxide 569 Chromate and Molybdate Pigments 570 Mixed-Metal Oxide Pigments and Ceramic Colorants 571 Cadmium Pigments 573 Cyanide Iron Blue Pigments 575 Ultramarine Pigments 577 5.9.4 Corrosion Protection Pigments 578 5.9.5 Luster Pigments 580 5.9.5. I Metal Effect Pigments 580 Nacreous Pigments 581 Interference Pigments 581 Luminescent Pigments 581 5.9.6 Magnetic Pigments 582 5.9.7 General Information and Properties 582 Manufacture of Magnetic Pigments 584 References for Chapter 5.9: Inorganic Pigments 586


Nuclear Fuel Cycle 587


Economic Importance of Nuclear Energy 587


General Information about the Nuclear Fuel Cycle 591


Availability of Uranium 592

6.4 6.4.1 6.4.2 6.4.3 6.4.4 6.4.5

Nuclear Reactor Types 594 General Information 594 Light-water Reactors 594 Boiling Water Reactors 594 Pressurized Water Reactors 595 Graphite-Moderated Reactors 595 Gas-Cooled 595 Light-Water Cooled 597 Heavy-Water Reactors 597 Fast Breeder Reactors 598


6.5 6.5.1, I 6.5.2 6.5.3 6.5.4 6.5.5

Nuclear Fuel Production 599 Production of Uranium Concentrates (“Yellow Cake”) 600 Uranium from Uranium Ores 600 Leaching Processes 600 Separation of Uranium from the Leaching Solutions 602 Manufacture of Marketable Uranium Compounds (“Yellow Cake”) 603 Uranium from Phosphate Ores and Wet Phosphoric Acid 605 Uranium from Seawater 606 Conversion of Uranium Concentrates to Uranium Hexafluoride 607 General Information 607 Wet Process for Uranium(V1) Fluoride Manufacture 607 Dry Process for Uranium(V1) Fluoride Manufacture 609 *%-Enrichment 609 Reconversion of Uranium(V1) Fluoride into Nuclear Fuel 6 I0 Into Uranium(1V) Oxide 610 General Information 610 Uranium(1V) Oxide by Wet Processes 61 1 Uranium(1V) Oxide by the Dry (IDR) Process 6 I2 Manufacture of Uranium(1V) Oxide Pellets 61 2 Other Uranium Nuclear Fuels 6 13 Fuel Element Manufacture 614

6.6 Disposal of Waste from Nuclear Power Stations 615 6.6.1 General Information 6 15 6.6.2 Stages in Nuclear Waste Disposal 617 Interim Storage of Spent Fuel Elements 6 17 Reprocessing of Spent Fuel Elements 617 Further Processing of Uranium and Plutonium Solutions 620 Treatment of Radioactive Waste 621 Permanent Storage of Radioactive Waste 623 References for Chapter 6: Nuclear Fuel Cycle 624

Company Abbreviations Index 627 Subject Index 63 1


Industrial inorganic Chemistry Karl Heinz Bbchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto & Peter Woditsch copyright0 WlLEY VCH Verldg GmbH, 2MlO

1 Primary Inorganic Materials

1.1 Water 1.1.1 Economic Importance Water is a raw material which is available on Earth in unlimited quantities. Water is not consumed since, after use, it is fed back sooner or later into the Earth's water circulation. The local availability of water (e.g. in arid regions), especially with the purity necessary for the particular application, is another matter. Cheap high purity water is required for many applications. Statistics for the Federal Republic of Germany serve to illustrate the origin and production of water for an industrialized country. In 1991 a total of 6.1 . lo9 m' of water was produced (corresponding to about 80 m3 per inhabitant) which comprises: 4015 . lo6 m3 ground- and spring water, of which 399 1O6 m3 is spring water 1725 . 1 Oh m3 surface water, of which 387 . lo6 m3 is filtered through river banks, 529 . lo6 m3 is augmented ground water and 586 . 1 Oh m3 from reservoirs

46.44' loy m3 of water was extracted (= demand) in 1990 (of which ca. 84 % was surface water) which was mainly (ca. 70%) used as a coolant i n power stations. The utilization of water is, however, slightly more than double this quantity, reflecting the multiple usage of the cooling water. In rain starved regions (southern Mediterranean, northern desert belt) potable water is produced on an industrial scale from sea- and brackish water using distillation plants (older technology), reverse osmosis (newer technology) and to a small extent electrodialysis plants (brackish water). In 1995, just in Saudi Arabia (45 % of Arabia) more than 1.9 . 1Oy m3 of water was produced from seawater. By early

Water: a raw material in principle available in unlimited quantities, since used water is fed back into the Earth's water circulation

FRG 1991: Public supply of water: 6. I . 10') inR= 80 m3 per inhabitant per year Total water extraction: 46.44 . I 0' id


1 Primary Inorganic Materials

1995 8900 plants worldwide, with a capacity of 1 0 . lo6 m3/a, produced 5.7 . I O9 m3/a of potable water. Geographically this capacity is distributed as follows: 60 % in the Middle East 13 % in North America 10 % in Europe including the former States of the USSR 60 % of the capacity is in multistage (typically 18 to 24 stage) vacuum distillation plants (MSF, multistage flash), ca. 35 lo of the capacity is in plants utilizing the more recent reverse osmosis (RO) technology and 5% in plants using electrodialysis technology. RO-plants dominate because they are more compact to build and consume much less energy, although this is expensive electrical energy, than MSF-plants which essentially use thermal energy.

1.1.2 Production of Potable Water

In obtaining potable water some or all of the following steps have to be carried out: Break.point chlorination or ozonizat,on Flocculation Sedimentation Filtration Treatment with activated charcoal Safety chlorination pH adjustment

Only good spring water can be used as potable water without further treatment. The untreated water is more or less contaminated depending upon the source. To obtain potable water some or all of the following steps have to be carried out: 0

0 0 0 0 0 0

Break-point chlorination (alternatives are ozone and chlorine dioxide) Flocculation Sedimentation Filtration Treatment with activated charcoal Safety chlorination pH adjustment

The number of steps carried out in practice depends entirely upon the quality of the untreated water. In the case of spring water only safety chlorination is necessary, to prevent infection from mains water. In the case of strongly polluted water (e.g. water filtered through the banks of the Rhine or Ruhr) almost all the steps are necessary. In this way potable water can be obtained even from strongly contaminated water. However, industrial water with lower purity, e.g. for cooling purposes, requires fewer purification steps.

1.1 Wuter

Additional purification steps are necessary if the water contains large quantities of hardeners (calcium and magnesium ions), unbound carbon dioxide and iron and manganese ions. Certain applications require deionized water. This can be obtained by ion exchange.


Further purification steps may also be necessary to: reduce the concentration ol’water hardeners (calcium and magnesium ions) remove free carbon dioxide and iron and manganese ions Break-Point Chlorination and Ozonization In the case of strongly polluted surface water, chlorination is the first purification step and is carried out after removal of any coarse foreign matter. Sufficient chlorine is added to ensure a free chlorine concentration of ca. 0.2 to 0.5 mg/L in the water after treatment (break-point chlorination). Chlorine reacts with water forming hydrochloric acid and the hypochlorite anion, depending upon the pH. Chlorination results in: elimination of pathogenic germs, deactivation of viruses, oxidation of cations such as iron(I1) or manganese(I1) to higher valency states, chlorination of ammonia to chloramines or nitrogen trichloride, chlorination of phenols to chlorophenols, and chlorination of organic impurities, particularly humic acid, e.g. to aliphatic chlorohydrocarbons. The last two processes are undesirable: chlorophenols have very strong taste and some of the aliphatic chlorohydrocarbons (e.g. chloroform) are also suspected of being carcinogenic. It is therefore usual to perform the chlorination only up to the chloramine stage and to carry out the further elimination of impurities, e.g. microbiological degradation processes, on activated charcoal. The most important alternative to chlorination of water is ozonization in which the above-mentioned disadvantages occur to a much lesser extent. However, the higher cost of ozonization is a problem. Ozonization helps subsequent flocculation and biological degradation on activated charcoal. About 0.2 to 1.0 g of ozone is required per m’ of water, in exceptional cases up to 3 g/m’. A further alternative is treatment with chlorine dioxide (from sodium chlorite and chlorine), in which there is less formation of organochloro-compounds than in the case of chlorination (see Section

Break-point chlorination: addition of sufficient chlorine to ensure 0.2 to 0.5 mg/L of free chlorine in the water after treatment

Chlorination results in: elimination of pathogenic organisms chlorination of ammonia formation of undesirable organochlorocompounds!

Ozonization as an alternative to chlorination: advantages: no formation of organochlorocompounds subsequent flocculation made easier disadvantages: higher costs ~


I Primary Inorganic Materials

In the Federal Republic of Germany ozoniLation, as preozonization - a post ozonization step being inserted before flocculation (see Section I . 1.2.2) - has largely supplanted break-point chlorination. Aeration is sufficient to oxidize and thereby tlocculate out iron and manganese ions in the treatment of groundwater, as well ac serving to increase the pH by expelling the unbound carbon dioxide. Flocculation and Sedimentation Flocculation: removal of inorganic and organic colloids by adsorption on (in situ produced) aluminum and iron(II1) hydroxide flakes. If necessary flocculation aids are added

Preliminary purification by flocculation is necessary, if the untreated water has a high turbidity, particularly as a result of colloidal or soluble organic impurities. Iron or aluminum salts are added to the water, so that iron(II1) or aluminum hydroxide is precipitated: A12(S04)3+ 6 H 2 0 FeS04CI + 3 H 2 0 Fe2(S04)3+ 6 H,O

-+ + __$

2 A1(OHl34 + 3 H2SO4 Fe(OH)3J + H2SO4 + HCl 2 Fe(OH)3J + 3 H2S04

The optimum pH for flocculation is about 6.5 to 7.5 for aluminum salts and about 8.5 for iron salts. If the natural alkali content of the untreated water is insufficient to neutralize the acid formed, alkali has to be added (e.g. calcium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide). In addition flocculation aids such as poly(acry1amide) or starch derivatives may be added (not in the case of potable water production). When aluminum sulfate A12(S04), . 1 8H20 is used 10 to 30 g/m3 is added. The very fine hydroxide flakes which precipitate are positively charged and adsorb the negatively charged colloidal organic materials and clay particles. A variety of industrial equipment has been used to carry out the flocculation process and the separation of the flocculated materials producing a well-defined sludge suspension layer, which can be removed. Some plant operates with sludge feedback to enable more efficient adsorption. Sludge flocks can also be separated by flotation.

1.1 Water

5 Filtration Water having undergone flocculation then has to be filtered. The water is generally filtered downwards through a 1 to 2 m high sand filter with 0.2 to 2 mm sand particles at a rate of 3 to 5 mm/s, When the filter is covered with impurities this increases the filter resistance and it is then cleaned by flushing upwards together with air, if necessary. Alternatively, a multiple-layer filter can be used, optionally combined with a 0.5 m high anthracite layer (Fig. 1.1-1).



over a separation undissolved sand filter, optionally combined with an anthracite filter. Flushing with water or water/air when the filter is covered.


d C

Wash water-



Wash air

Figure 1.1-1. Construction of a two layer filter. a) inlet; b) outlet; c ) bottom; d) sand; e) filter charcoal; f ) water distribution Removal of Dissolved Inorganic Impurities Untreated water containing much dissolved hydrogen carbonate forms, upon heating, a precipitate consisting mainly of calcium carbonate (carbonate hardness, boiler scale): Ca(HCO,),



+ C 0 2 + H20

The carbonate hardness can be removed by adding acid, whereupon the more soluble calcium sulfate is formed:

Hardeners, especiallycalciumand magnesium hydrogen carbonates rendered u n t r o u b l e s ~ n eby additionOf: sulfuric acid and expulsion of carbon dioxide, calcium hydroxide and separation of the carbonates formed


I Primary Inorganic Materials


+ H2S04


CaS04 + 2 C 0 2 + 2 H 2 0

The resulting carbon dioxide has to be expelled, as carbon dioxide-containing water is corrosive. The hydrogen carbonate can be removed by the addition of calcium hydroxide: Ca(HCO&

Removal of iron(II) and manganese(,,) ions by oxidation of the bivalent ions with air, or if necessary, with chlorine and separation of the oxide hydrates formed Dissolved carbon dioxide also expelled during air oxidation

+ Ca(OH), + 2 CaC03 + 2 HzO

In an industrial variant of this process the calcium hydroxide, as a solution or a suspension, is added to hydrogen carbonate-containing water and the mixture passed over calcium carbonate beads, upon which the freshly formed calcium carbonate is deposited. Fresh beads form on the crystal nuclei added and those beads which become too large are separated off. Carbon dioxide must also be expelled from soft water containing a high concentration of carbonic acid, a simultaneous hardening can be obtained by filtering over semi-calcined dolomite. Iron and manganese are present as bivalent ions in many waters. They are removed by oxidation to their oxide hydrates, preferably with air, and if necessary after increasing the pH. These are then filtered off. Treatment with air expels the dissolved carbon dioxide at the same time. If air is an insufficiently powerful oxidation agent, e.g. when considerable quantities of humic acid (which acts as a complexing agent) is present, stronger oxidizing agents such as chlorine or ozone are used. Small quantities of phosphates are desirable in household effluent to protect household equipment from corrosion by suppressing heavy metal dissolution. Reservoirs can contain too much phosphate due to run off from intensively used agricultural areas. This is then precipitated by flocculation with iron or aluminum salts. Dedicated nitrate removal is hardly used despite known processes for denitrification, the mandatory minimum concentrations being obtained by mixing. Decomposition of ammonium salts is carried out on biologically colonized activated charcoal filters.

1.1 Water

7 Activated Charcoal Treatment If after the above-mentioned treatment steps, water still contains nonionic organic impurities e.g. phenolic matter or chloro/bromohydrocarbons from chlorination, adsorption by treatment with activated charcoal is advisable. Activated charcoal provides an additional safety element for dealing with sporadic discharges, e.g. accidental, into river-water of organic substances e.g. mineral oil, tempering oils. So-called absorber resins based on poly(styrene) are recommended as an alternative to activated charcoal, but have as yet found little application. Chlorohydrocarbons and phenols are efficiently adsorbed by activated charcoal. Humic acid is less well adsorbed, its detection being a sign of activated charcoal filter exhaustion. If powdered charcoal is added (widely used in the USA) adsorption can be carried out simultaneously with flocculation, but passing through a bed of granular activated charcoal beds is more widely used in Europe. Use of powdered charcoal has the advantage that the amount used can be easily adjusted to the impurity level of the water and that the investment costs are low. Powdered charcoal is, however, not easy to regenerate, whereas granular activated charcoal can be regenerated thermally. Since the composition of the impurities varies from water to water, the conditions required for the treatment of water with granular activated charcoal (e.g. number of filters, contact time) have to be established empirically. The release of already adsorbed compounds e.g. chloro-alkanes into the eluant due to displacement by more easily adsorbed compounds (chromatographic effect) has, however, to be avoided. About 50 to 150 g TOC/m3 (TOC = total organic carbon) of organic carbon are on average removed from water per day. This value is higher, if the water is not break-point chlorinated (see Section or is pretreated with ozone. Back flushing is used to remove the sludge from the activated charcoal filter. Thermal reactivation of the filters under similar conditions to activated charcoal production has to be performed periodically to avoid break-through of pollutants. This can be carried out either at the waterworks or by the manufacturer of the activated charcoal. The activated charcoal treatment also has effects other than the elimination of dissolved organic impurities:

Between SO and I S O g mC/rn’ water removed by activated carbon per day

Regeneration of charcoal by back flushing and periodic t h e r d r e ~ t i v a t i o n


1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Activated charcoal treatment also leads to: decomposition of excess chlorine biological oxidation of ammonia and organic compounds by microbiological processes o n the activated charcoal surface removal of iron and manganese ions

excess chlorine is decomposed *ammonia and some of the organic compounds are biologically oxidized iron and manganese oxide hydrates are removed. Safety Chlorination Safety chlorination: avoidance of reinfection of potable water in the distribution network by adding 0.1 to 0.2 mg/L chlorine

After the water treatment is finished a safety chlorination is carried out to prevent reinfection of the potable water in the distribution network. This is also necessary after prior ozonization. Potable water contains about 0.1 to 0.2 mg/L chlorine. Production of Soft or Deionized Water Treatment of water with cation exchangers:

Exchange of Ca2+ and Mg2+ for Na+ or H+

Water with a lower hardener content than that produced according to the process described in Section is required for a range of industrial processes. This can be accomplished by ion exchange with solid polymeric organic acids, the “ion exchangers”. When the sodium salt of sulfonated poly(styrene) is used as the cation exchanger, calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged for sodium ions: PS-SO,-Na+

+ 0.5 Ca2+ --+

PS-S03-Ca2+o.5+ Na+

[PS poly(styrene)]

Regeneration of ion exchangers charged with calcium and magnesium ions (1 L of ion exchange material can be charged with ca. 40 g of CaO) can be accomplished by reversing the above equation by (countercurrent) elution with 5 to 10% sodium chloride solution. If the hardeners are present as hydrogen carbonate, the eluant becomes alkaline upon heating:

2 NaHCO,

-+ Na2C03+ COzT + H2O

If ion exchangers are used in the acid form, then the eluant will be acidic: PS-SO,-H+

+ M+ 4


+ H+

(M+: monovalent metal ion or equivalent of a multivalent ion)

I . I Water


If (weakly acidic) resins containing carboxy-groups are used, only those hardeners present as hydrogen carbonates are removed, as only the weak carbonic acid can be released:

For very high purity water (for applications such as high performance boilers or in the electronics industry) virtually ion-free water is required. This is achieved in alternate layers of cation and anion exchangers or so-called “mixed bed exchangers”. In these, both strongly acid cationic exchangers in the proton form and basic ion exchangers based on poly(styrene) modified with amino- or ammonium-groups are present, e.g.




Basic ion exchangers remove anions and are regenerated with sodium hydroxide, e.g.


+ CI- + PS-N(CH3)3+Cl- + OH-

Upon passing salt-containing water through a mixed bed, the cations are replaced by protons and the anions by hydroxide ions. Protons and hydroxide ions together form water, making the resulting water virtually ion-free with an ion residue of 0.02 mg/L. The higher density of anion exchangers (than cationic exchangers) makes the regeneration of mixed beds possible. The mixed bed ionexchange columns are flushed from the bottom upwards with such a strong current of water that the resins are transported into separate zones, in which they can be regenerated independently of one another. For the electronics industry etc. a further purification using reverse osmosis (see also Section is necessary to remove dissolved nonionic organic compounds. Distillation (“distilled water”) is no longer economic.

waterwith less

than 0.02 I n g / can ~ be obtained by stepwise treatment over cation and anion exchange beds Or j n beds”. Rehidual organic impurities can be by OslnOsiS


I Primary lnorgunic Materials

1.1.3 Production of Freshwater from Seawater and Brackish Water Production by Multistage Flash Evaporation

linportant process for the production of freshwater from seawater:

Multistage (vacuum) flash evaporation

Seawater contains on average 3.5% by weight of dissolved salts, for the most part sodium chloride. Calcium, magnesium and hydrogen carbonate ions are also present. Potable water should not contain more than 0.05% of sodium chloride and less than 0. I o/o of dissolved salts. The removal of such quantities of salt from seawater using ion exchangers would be totally uneconomic. Distillation processes are currently mainly used in the production of potable and irrigation water from seawater. Distillation is carried out by multistage (vacuum) flash evaporation (MSF), Fig. 1.1-2.

vapor 1'

concentrated brine


Fig. 1.1-2. Flowchart of a multistage distillation plant. V evaporator; K heat exchanger (preheater); E expansion valve

Seawater freed of particulate and biological impurities is evaporated at temperatures of 90°C up to 120°C in a number - generally 18 to 24 - of stages in series. The seawater feed is also the coolant for condensing the stream produced and in so doing is heated up as it proceeds from stage to stage. In the first (hottest) stage the energy required for the complete system is supplied by stream using a heat exchanger. The temperature of the ever more concentrated salt solution decreases from stage to stage as does the prevailing pressure. Additional seawater is necessary in a supplementary circuit for cooling the steam produced in the last (coolest) stages. This is returned directly to the sea, which represents a considerable energy loss. The rest of the prewarmed water is used as feed-water and is heated by the final heater and

1. I Wuter

subjected to evaporation. The concentrate, which is not recycled to the final heater, is run off. The “concentration factor” of the run off concentrate is about I .6 with respect to the seawater. Disposal of this concentrate also represents an energy loss. The quality of the seawater has to fulfill certain requirements: in addition to the removal of coarse foreign matter and biological impurities, hardener removal or stabilization is necessary. Calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide (Brucite) are deposited from untreated seawater onto the heat exchanger surfaces with loss of carbon dioxide, resulting in a strong decrease in the distillation performance of the plant. Hardener precipitation can be prevented by adding sulfuric acid, whereupon the fairly soluble calcium and magnesium sulfates are formed. However, considerable quantities of acid are required and desalination plants are often poorly accessible. Furthermore, exact dosing is necessary, underdosing leading to encrustation and overdosing leading to corrosion. Therefore polyphosphates are currently used for hardener stabilization in understoichiometric quantities in the first (hottest) stage at temperatures of up to ca. 90°C. Above 90°C polyphosphates (sodium tripolyphosphate) hydrolyze too rapidly, thereby losing their activity and forming precipitates. In plants operating above 90”C, poly(maleic acid) is almost exclusively used for hardener stabilization. It is usual to use sludge balls for removing encrustation. Above 120°C calcium sulfate precipitates out as anhydrite (the solubility of calcium sulfate decreases with increasing temperature), which in practice limits the final heater temperature to 120°C. The cost of potable water production from seawater is mainly dependent upon the cost of the energy consumed. It is, however, considerably higher than that for potable water produced from freshwater, a factor of 4 in Europe.






adding: quantities of sulfuric ttcid polyphosphate or poly(maleic acid) derivatives in under-stoichiometric quantities Production using Reverse Osmosis Currently another process for the production of potable water from seawater is becoming established: reverse osmosis (RO). The RO-process is particularly suitable for small plants. Therefore almost 70% of all plants operate according this principle, but they account for only 35% of the desalination capacity. In osmosis, water permeates

wiiter from brackish product,Onof water or seawater by reverse osmosis:

permeation of water with a low salt content through a semipermeable ,nembrane by applying pressure to the hide containing Taitwatir


I Primary Inorganic Muteriuls

Membranes lnostly made of acetylcellulose or more preferably polyamide. Large pressure differences mean complicated desalination plant construction (in some cases multistage). Pretreatment of water necessary as for distillation plants

through a semipermeable membrane from a dilute solution to a concentrated solution resulting in a hydrostatic pressure increase in the concentrated solution. This process proceeds spontaneously. In reverse osmosis, water with a low salt content is produced by forcing a salt-containing solution through a semipermeable membrane under pressure. To produce a usable quantity of water, the pressure applied must be substantially higher than the equilibrium osmotic pressure. This is 3.5 bar for a 0.5% by weight salt solution. Pressures of 40 to 70 bar are necessary for water production, the higher the pressure on the feed water side the higher the permeation of water. However, the salt concentration in the water thus produced increases with increasing pressure, as the membrane is unable to retain the salt completely. A multistep process has sometimes to be used. The membranes are manufactured from acetylcellulose or, more preferably, polyamide. The technical construction is complicated and made expensive by the large pressure differences and the need for thin membranes. Bundles of coiled thin hollow capillaries (external diameter 0.1 mm, internal diameter 0.04 mm) are, for example, placed in a pressure cylinder (Fig. 1.1-3). These capillaries protrude from the ends of the cylinder through plastic sealing layers. Of the (high salt content)-water fed into the cylinder from the other side, 30% passes through the capillary walls into the capillaries and the rest is run off as concentrate and disposed of. An intensive and expensive pretreatment of the feed water is also necessary: i n addition to the removal of all colloidal and biological impurities, treatment of the feed water is also necessary e.g. by acid addition. The use of feed water from wells in the neighborhood of beaches is particularly favored.

I . I Wuter

inlet tube with porous outside wall


hollow fibers (initial thickness 100 prn)

raw wa inlet

brine outlet Fig. 1.1.3. Schematic lay-out of a RO-module.

In water production, reverse osmosis requires less than 50% of the energy required by multistage flash distillation (8 to 10.6 kWh for freshwater for a capacity of 1 9 . lo3 m3/d).

Freshwater production by reverse osmosis cheaper than flash


References for Chapter 1.1: Water Water supply in the Federal Republic of Germany: Statjstisches Jahrbuch der BR Deutschland. 1994. Ojentliche Wasserversorung und Ahwasserbeseiti~Sung 1991, 26/Umwelt, 131. Flinspach, D. 1993. Sfand der Trinkcvnssrr-cc~f~errirlmRsrrc.hnik, Stuttg. Ber. Siedlungswasserwirtschaft, 157 - 182. Bundesverband der deutschen Gas- und Wasserwirtschaft e. V. (BGW), (Hrsg). 1997. 108. Wu.wrJrutisrik Bundesrepuhlik Deurschlund, Berichtsiuhr 1996, Wirtschafts- uiid Verlagsgesellschaft Gas und Wasser, Bonn. Schleyer, R . u. Kerndorff, H. 1992. Die Grundwnsserqualitat westdeutscher Trinknasserressourcen, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Der Wussrrbedurf'in rler Bimdcsrepublik Deumhlultd his iuin Jobre 2010 - Studie erstellt im Auftrage des Umweltbundesamtes, Berlin, 198 1 .

Reviews: Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1996. 5. Ed.. Vol. A 28, I - 101, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheini. Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1998.4. Ed., Vol. 25, 361 - 569, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Chemie und Uniwelt, VCI - Waxser (Verhand dei Cheniischen Industrie, Frankfurt/Main, Hrsg.).

Adsorption: Sontheimer, H., Crittenden, J. C., Summers, R. S. 1988. Artiv~itedCUVbOJI ,fiw Wuler Treutmc,nt, 2. Ed.. DVGWForschungsstelle, Karlsruhe. Demineralization: Applebaurn, S. B. 1968. Deminrrrr/izfitinii !~yI o n E ~ c h ~ i i gAcademic e, Press, New York - London. Flocculation: Jekel, M., Liefifeld, R. 1985. Dic Flockunji in drr W~/.r.vPrcri/fl,ereifiin,~, DVGW-Schriftenreihe Waaser 42. Filtration: Degremont. 1991, Water Treatinent Handbook, Voh. 1 2, Lavoisier Publ., Paris.


Treatment of Seawater: Coghlan, A. I99 I, Fresh cturer,pont rhr SL'N, New Scientist 3 1, 37 - 40. Finan. M. A,. et. al. 1989. &,/jiurd@ E V - I S , w t i r s e.rperiencr iti scale control. Desalination 73, 341 - 357. Heitmann, H. G. (Ed.). 1990. Suline Wuter Proc~essinji. VCH Verlagsgesllschaft, Weinheim.


I Primary Inorganic Materials

Mulder, M. 1991. Basic Principles ofMembrune Technology, Kluwer Academic Publ., Dordrecht.

Desalination of Water: International Desalination Association. 1995. Proceedings, IDA World Congress on Drsalincition und Water Sciences. A h Dhahi, Topsfield, Mass., USA A. Coghlan, A. 1991. Fresh Wuterfrom the Sea, New Scientist 3 I , 37 - 40.

1.2 Hydrogen 1.2.1 Economic Importance Hydrogen is the most widespread element in the Universe, but only the ninth most common element in the Earth’s crust

Further development of hydrogen technology requires cheap primary energy sources

1996 Consumption of hydrogen in lo9 mi USA 79 Western Europe 51 Japan 16 Rest of the World 25 I

Only a small part of the hydrogen produced is marketed, most is directly utilized by the producer

Hydrogen is by far the most widespread element in the universe, but on Earth (litho-, bio- and atmosphere) it is only the ninth most common element with 1% by weight (or 1.5 atomic 96). Hydrogen is almost exclusively present as water, hydrates, in the biomass and in fossilized raw materials. Commercially hydrogen has only been utilized as a chemical raw material and industrial chemical. However, particularly since the 1973/74 oil crisis, there has been increasing, if largely speculative, interest in hydrogen as an almost inexhaustible (secondary) energy source (for power and combustion purposes). This instead of, or in addition to, electricity, due to its high energy density per unit mass (121 kJ/g compared with 50.3 kJ/g for methane), its high environmental compatibility, its being nonpoisonous and the ease of its transport and storage. Its world consumption in 1996 was about 400 . lo9 m3 (ca. 37 . lo6 t). Further growth in consumption is expected, in certain application up to 10% per year. The recorded consumption in Western Europe in 1996 was about SO . lo9 m3, although the actual consumption was certainly somewhat higher, since the quantities produced as a byproduct in refineries and used in other sites are not included in these figures. In the USA only about S % of the total consumption of hydrogen was marketed, most of the hydrogen produced, e.g. as a byproduct, being directly used by the producer as in Western Europe. Since refineries are increasingly using hydrogen from the plants of third parties rather than from their own hydrogen plants, the proportion of marketed hydrogen should increase in the future.

1.2 Hydrogen

Liquid hydrogen has a small but important market e.g. for rocket fuels and industrial applications. The USA consumption was ca. 0.5 . lo9 m3 of gaseous hydrogen in 1996.

1.2.2 Hydrogen Manufacture Industrially hydrogen is mainly produced by two fundamentally different processes: by petrochemical processes including gasification of coal (> 90%) by the electrolysis of water

Raw material sources for H2: fossil raw materials (natural gas, oil. coal) account for > 90% of H2 production water

Hydrogen is also formed in large quantities as a byproduct in petrochemical processes, refineries, coking plants (coke oven gas) and in chemical and electrochemical processes e.g. chloralkali-electrolysis. Other processes such as the photochemical production of hydrogen or thermal dissociation of water are only used in special applications and are currently industrially unimportant.

H? as a byproduct in: refineries petrochemical plants coking plants chemical industry Petrochemical Processes and Coal Gasification The industrially most important and currently cheapest hydrogen production process is the catalytic steam reforming process in which steam is reacted with natural gas (methane) or light crude oil fractions (propane, butane, naphtha with b.p.'s 5 200°C). The hydrogen produced comes partly from the steam utilized and partly from the hydrocarbons, in the case of methane 1/3 from water and 2/3 from the methane: CH,+H20 ----+3H,+CO

AH = 205 kJ/mol

About 80% of the hydrogen used is produced petrochemically, which includes the thermal or catalytic cracking of hydrocarbons e.g. in refineries. In the USA over 90% of the hydrogen is currently produced from natural gas using this very economic process. In addition to steam-reforming of low boiling point hydrocarbons, the partial oxidation of heavy fuel oil and

Hydrogen Production worldwide:

77% 180/o

4% 1%

from natural @crude oil

fractions fromcoal from water e~ectrolysis from other sources



I Primary Inorganic Materials

crude oil residues is also industrially important. It can be represented by the following equation: +



- 2 CnH2n+2 - 2 o+n

2 (n + 1)H2 + 2 nCO

This is a self-sustaining noncatalytic thermal reaction. In countries with cheap coal (e.g. South Africa) hydrogen is being increasingly produced by coal and coke gasification (before World War I1 90% of hydrogen was produced in this way). This reaction proceeds as follows: 3 C+0


+ H,O+

H2 + 3 CO

Since over half of the hydrogen is utilized in the production of ammonia (fertilizer production) and is carried out in the modern ammonia plants (hydrogen production and utilization in integrated plants), all three processes will be dealt with in detail in Section Electrolysis of Water Electrolysis of water is very energy intensive The efficiency including electricity production is 20 to 25%

Water electrolysis is currently only of interest where favorable conditions hold (accounts for < 3% of hydrogen production), but could become important in il future hydrogen-based economy

Hydrogen production by the electrolysis of water is currently less important, accounting for less than 3% of the hydrogen produced, due to the low overall efficiency of 20 to 25% including the electricity production. Large plants are only constructed where favorable conditions obtain, mainly near dams e.g. in Egypt (a plant at the Assuan dam has an ammonia capacity of 33 000 m3/h), India, Peru and in countries with low electricity prices or where there is a favorable demand for the byproduct oxygen e.g. in Norwav. Hydrogen produced by electrolysis is also used where particularly pure hydrogen is required such as in food technology (margarine production) or for small users. The process could in the long term become important in a hydrogen-based economy in the post-oil era. At present, electrolysis cells basically consist of two electrodes separated by an asbestos diaphragm impermeable to gases. 20 to 30% potassium hydroxide is dissolved in the electrolyte to increase its conductivity. The electrolysis is carried out at 80 to 85°C. The theoretical decomposition potential is 1.24 V with I .9 to 2.3 V being used in practice due to overvoltage effects etc. Oxygen is produced at the anode and hydrogen at the cathode:

I .2 H y d r o g m

2 OH2H20+2eH,O


+ +

H 2 0 + 0.5 O2 + 2eH,+2OHH2+0.502

anode cathode

The specific energy consumption per m3 of hydrogen (and 0Sm3 oxygen) produced is about 4.5 to 5.45 kWh. Industrial cells are mainly bipolar consisting of a large number of individual plate cells connected back to back and coupled in blocks according to the filter press principle. If the electrolysis is carried out under pressure, the energy consumption can be reduced by 20%. Further recent developments are the use of porous electrodes, high temperature steam electrolysis and the SPE-process (solid polymer electrolyte). Heavy water, D20, can be produced as a byproduct in water electrolysis through enrichment in the electrolyte. Other Manufacturing Processes for Hydrogen The direct thermal dissociation of water:




+ 0.5 0


AH = 285 kJ/mol

is industrially and commercially impractical due to the >2000”C temperatures required. However, multistep thermochemical cyclic processes, of which a number are thermodynamically possible, can be carried out at lower temperatures. In such processes the splitting of water is assisted by an auxiliary agent which is fed into the cycle and the reaction products, in part via intermediates, are thermally split. One example from the so-called “Iron-Chlorine-Family” is the following three step process:

+2 Fe304 + 12 HCl + 2 H2 6 FeC1, + 8 H,O 2 Fe304+ 12 HCI + 3 C1, --+6 FeC1, + 6 H,O + 0 2 +6 FeCI, + 3 C12 6 FeCI3 4 2 H, + 0 2 overall: 2 H,O Material and corrosion questions as well as the realization of the necessary high temperatures (possibly nuclear process heat or solar energy) have hindered their application.



1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Photochemical, photoelectric and thermochemical processes currently have no commercial significance. For particular purposes, hydrogen is produced by catalytic decomposition of ammonia (by contact with nickel at 900°C for hydrogenation or metallurgical purposes) or methanol in cracking plants. Production of Hydrogen as a Byproduct H2 produced as a byproduct in refineries and photochemical companies particularly from: reforming aromatization production of olefins from saturated hydrocarbons

H2 from chloralkali-electrolysis: 2 NaCl + 2 H 2 0 + H2 + C12 + 2 NaOH

Hydrogen-containing gases (refinery gas) are formed in large quantities as a byproduct in the processing of crude oil in refineries by cyclization and aromatization e.g. by catalytic reforming. This hydrogen is, however, mostly used in house. Hydrogen is also produced in other petrochemical and chemical processes (synthesis of olefins, ethyne, styrene, acetone). Coke oven gas contains over 50 volume % of hydrogen, from which it can be isolated. Finally hydrogen occurs as a valuable byproduct in chloralkali-electrolysis (directly with the diaphragm process or indirectly with the amalgam process and hydrochloric acid hydrolysis) see Section The electrolysis processes account for less than 5 % of the worldwide production of hydrogen.

1.2.3 Hydrogen Applications Consumption of hydrogen in the USA in 1996: in total 79 . 10" mj, c:omprising : ammonia production 40.3% 10.0% methanol reforming 42.9% refinery processes 0.3% food (fats and oils) 0.2% metal refining 0. 1 % electronics industry 6.1% miscellaneous

In the USA of the ca. 79 . loy m3 hydrogen produced in 1996, 40% was utilized in ammonia production, 43% in refinery processes (e.g. hydrocracking to improve the quality of crude oil products, hydrotreating e.g. hydrodesulfurization and 10% in methanol production. The rest was utilized in the hydrogenation of organic chemicals (hydrogenation of fats and aniline and cyclohexane synthesis), in the electronics industry (protective gas in the manufacture of semiconductors), in metallurgy (e.g. the use of synthesis gas in the direct reduction of iron ore, as reduction or protective gas in tempering and recasting processes), in the glass industry, in hydrogen chloride production and in autogenic welding and cutting (oxyhydrogen blowpipe) and in protective gas welding technology (e.g. with argon-hydrogen).

1.2 Hydrogen

In Western Europe of the ca. 51 . lo9 m3 hydrogen produced in 1996, 47% was utilized in ammonia production, 31% in the refining of crude oil, 8% in methanol production and 14% for other applications. Worldwide of the 400 . lo9 m3 hydrogen produced in 1996, 63% was utilized in ammonia production, 25% in the refining of crude oil, 9% in methanol production and 3% for other applications. Utilization in crude oil refining is currently growing very strongly. This is due to environmental protection laws in industrialized countries which require greater hydrogen utilization and an increasing proportion of high boiling point hydrocarbons which contain less hydrogen than lower boiling point hydrocarbons. Hydrogen is marketed as a gas or a liquid. It is transported as a compressed gas (e.g. 200bar) in steel cylinders or clusters of bottles or as a liquid (cryogenic) under pressure in highly insulated tankers at -253°C. Hydrogen can also be distributed by pipeline. In the Federal Republic of Germany, a 200 km (pressure) pipeline network has operated for decades in the Rhine-Ruhr region (so-called Wasserstoffverbund Rhein-Ruhr), which connects hydrogen producing plants and hydrogen consuming plants. Similar pipeline networks have been set up in other European countries e.g. in The Netherlands, Belgium and France. Further developments in the storage and transport of hydrogen concern hydrogen i n the form of hydride5 of titaniumhron hydride TiFeH, 9s or magnesiumhickel hydride MgNiH, 2.

H2-demand in refineries is increasing strongly with the working up of heavier crude and in the future oil shale, oil sands and coal oils (compensation of the H/C ratio)

H2-transport: as a gas in gascylinders or pipelines as a liquid i n pressurized cryogenic conlainers possibly as a solid in the form of hydrides

References for Chapter 1.2: Hydrogen Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1989. Hydrogen. 5. Ed., Val. A 13, 297 - 442, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1989. Hydrides. 5. Ed., Vol. A 13, 199 - 226, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1995.4. Ed., Vol. 13, 838 949, John Wiley & Sons, New York. ~

Chemical Week, 6 July 1994, I 18 Chemical Marketing Reporter, 20 June 1994, 20. Hydrocarbon Processing, July 1993, 27. Oil & G a s Journal, March 1993,45. Chemical Marketing Reporter (24.8.92), 9. Chemical Business, June 1990. 44. Chemical Economics Handhook 1994. Hydrogeri. Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California



I Primary Inorganic Materials

1.3 Hydrogen Peroxide and Inorganic Peroxo Compounds 1.3.1 Economic Importance Hydrogen Peroxide Commercially hydrogen peroxide is available in a variety of concentrations. The most important are aqueous solutions with 35, 50 and 70% by weight H202. The following statistics refer to “ 100% hydrogen peroxide”. Worldcapacityin 1991: 1 . 5 ’ 106th

H 2 0 2 commercially mainly available in concentrations of 35, 50 and 70% by weight

Table 1.3-1. Hydrogen Peroxide Capacities in 1991 in World

Europe USA/ Latin AusCanada America tralia






1 0 3 t/a.

Asia excl. Janan






Hydrogen peroxide demand is currently increasing comparatively strongly, the production capacity having increased by 70% between 1979 and 199 1 from 882 . 1 O3 to 1492 . lo3 t/a. Further growth is expected. Producers of hydrogen peroxide are e.g. Degussa, DuPont, EKA Nobel, FMC, Kemira, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, Oxysynthese and Solvay-Interox. Sodium Perborate and Sodium Carbonate Perhydrate Sodium perborate is produced in almost all Western industrialized countries, but particularly in Europe (mainly utilized in washing powders). The world capacity for sodium carbonate perhydrate is about 20% of that of sodium perborate, both products being alternately produced in some plants. About 40% of the hydrogen peroxide production of Western Europe is utilized in the production of sodium perborate and sodium carbonate perhydrate. Estimated consumptions for 1991 are given in tables 1.3-2 and 1.3-3 respectively:

1.3 Hydrogen Peroxide and Inorgatzic Peroxo Compounds

Table 1.3-2.. Sodium Perborate consumption in 1991 (estimated) in 10’ t. Europe

World capacity in 1991: 415 . l o 3 t/a


Table 1.3-3. Sodium Carbonate Perhydrate consumption in 199I (estimated) in 103 t. Europe 110

USA 10 Alkali Peroxodisulfates and Sodium Peroxide Details over the production capacity for peroxodisulfates are to be found in Table 1.3-4.

World capacity for alkali Peroxodisulfate in 1991: 6 2 . l o 3 t/a

Table 1.3-4. Capacity for Peroxodisulfates i n 1991 in 1 O l t. World




The most important compound is the ammonium salt, followed by the potassium and sodium salts. Production capacities for sodium peroxide are not available.

1.3.2 Production Hydrogen Peroxide The industrial production of hydrogen peroxide is possible using the following processes: oxidation of isopropanol electrochemical oxidation of sulfuric acid or ammonium sulfate cathodic reduction of oxygen anthraquinone process Of these processes, the first has only historical interest: the plants which produced 15 000 t/a of hydrogen peroxide and 30 000 t/a of acetone were shut down in 1980. Only in the former States of the USSR are such plants still in use. The electrochemical oxidation process is also of limited importance. Over 95% of the hydrogen peroxide is produced with the anthraquinone process. Electrochemical

Production ofHzO2: oxidation of isopropanol electrochemical oxidation of sulfuric acid or ammonium sulfate - currently only of limited interest anthraquinone process: used for production of > 9596 of H 2 0 2



1 Primary Inorganic Materials

reduction can, under particular circumstances, be advantageous for small stand-alone units. Formerly practiced processes such as production from barium peroxide, have not been used for some time.

Isopropanol Oxidation Process lsopropanol oxidation process: isopropanol is oxidized with air to acetone and H202 at 90 to 140°C and I5 to 20 bar and the reaction mixture worked up by distillation. The acetone byproduct must be utilized.

Acetone and hydrogen peroxide are produced with a selectivity of 80% upon multistage oxidation of isopropanol with air at 15 to 20 bar and 90 to 40°C:

CH3CH(OH)CH3 + 0,



+ H20,

The degree of conversion is limited to about 30% to suppress side reactions. After the oxidation and diluting the reaction mixture with water, the acetone, unreacted isopropanol and water are distilled off. A ca. 20% hydrogen peroxide solution is run off from the sump (sump temperature ca. 120°C). Acetone is separated from the distillate and the isopropanol-water solution fed back into the process. The 20% hydrogen peroxide solution is then purified over ion exchangers and concentrated by distillation. The process has one disadvantage: the weight of acetone produced is double that of the hydrogen peroxide. This must either be utilized in situ or reduced back to isopropanol with hydrogen.

Electrochemical Process Electrochemical process: anodic oxidation from sulfuric acid to peroxodisulfuric acid or from ammonium sulfate to ammonium peroxodisulfate, subsequent hydrolysis and separation of H 2 0 2 by distillation

In the electrochemical processes, an aqueous solution of sulfuric acid (550 to 570 g/L) (Degussa-WeiBenstein Process) or of sulfuric acid (260 g/L) and ammonium sulfate (210 to 220 g/L) (Lowenstein-Riedel Process) is electrochemically oxidized at the anode to peroxodisulfuric acid or ammonium peroxodisulfate respectively and reduced at the cathode producing hydrogen. Small quantities of ammonium thiocyanate of hydrochloric acid are added to increase the anode potential. The peroxo compound obtained is subsequently hydrolyzed, the hydrolysis proceeding by way of the peroxomonosulfate. (Caro’s acid):

1.3 Hydrogen Peroxide und Inorganic Peroxo Compounds

The hydrogen peroxide formed is distilled off, the sulfuric acid or sulfuric acid-ammonium sulfate solutions being recycled. The total yield for both processes relative to the electricity consumed is about 70%. The disadvantage of the electrochemical processes are the high plant and production costs, due to the high cost of the electricity used.



of anodic oxidation: ,noderate yields

Anthraquinone Process The anthraquinone process is based on the following processes: oxidation of a 2-alkyl-anthrahydroquinonewith air to the corresponding 2-alkyl-anthraquinone and hydrogen peroxide and catalytic (back)-reduction of the 2-alkyl-anthraquinone to the 2-alkyl-anthrahydroquinonewith hydrogen In this cyclic process hydrogen peroxide is formed from hydrogen and oxygen: OH




The alkyl-group substituent R on the anthraquinone differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. In addition to 2ethyl- (mainly used), 2-tert-butyl-, 2-tert-amyl- and 2-secamyl-anthraquinones are also utilized. Mixtures of different alkyl anthraquinones can also be used. The solvent mixture, in which both the quinone- and hydroquinone-compounds must dissolve, is complex. The “working solution” contains, as a solvent for the quinone, mainly a mixture of aromatic compounds such as naphthalene or trimethylbenzene. Polar compounds such as tris-(2-ethylhexyl)-phosphate, diisobutylcarbinol or methylcyclohexanol-acetate are suitable solvents for the hydroquinone.

process requires a solvent mixture: mi,tures ‘squinone d,sso]vef’: of aromatic solvents “hydroqL1inonedisgolver”: polar solvents, especially esters





I Primary Inorgunic Muteriuls

Formation of byproducts - particularly during hydrogenation - complicates the anthraquinone process

The solvent mixture has to fulfill a number of requirements: low solubility in water, low volatility, good dissolving properties, chemical stability under the reaction conditions used, low viscosity etc. In the first step of the process the anthraquinone is hydrogenated to the hydroquinone with palladium as the preferred catalyst: on carriers, such as gauze, or in suspension. The reaction is carried out at about 40°C and at pressures up to ca. 5 bar with cooling and only to ca. 50% hydrogenation to suppress side reactions (see below). The subsequent oxidation proceeds with air at 30 to 80°C and pressures up to 5 bar, if necessary after catalyst separation and a precautionary filtration. It can be carried out in co- or countercurrent mode, in a single step or multistep process. The hydrogen peroxide formed during the oxidation is extracted from the reaction mixture with water e.g. in pulsating packed towers. The extraction yield is ca. 98%. The hydrogen peroxide solutions obtained are 15 to 35% by weight and must be freed from residual organic compounds before they can be concentrated by distillation. Commercial hydrogen peroxide solutions always contain stabilizers, such as diphosphates, organic complexing agents or tin compounds, to prevent their decomposition to oxygen and water After separating off the hydrogen peroxide, the working solution has to be dried and freed of byproducts e.g. with active aluminum oxide. This occurs in a bypass. In practice, the anthraquinone process is much more complicated than has been described above, in that byproducts such as 1,2,3,4-tetrahydroanthraquinone are formed, particularly in the hydrogenation step. These behave similarly to anthrahydroquinones, but their further hydrogenation leads to octahydroanthrahydroquinones which are unusable in this process. Other byproducts such as oxanthrones and anthrones can only be partially regenerated. These unusable byproducts have to be removed from the process. Sodium Perborate Sodium perborate (more correctly sodium peroxoborate) (NaB02(OH), ' 3 H,O)

1.3 Hydrogen Peroxide and Inorganic Peroxo Compounds

is produced from borax in a two-step process:

1. Na2B407+ 2 NaOH 2. NaBO, + H202+ 3 H,O

-+ --+

4 NaBO, + H,O NaBO,(OH), . 3 H 2 0

The first step, the formation of sodium metaborate from borax and sodium hydroxide, is carried out at temperatures up to 90°C. When impure borax is used the solution is filtered. The second step is carried out at 25°C and the mixture subsequently cooled to 15°C and the precipitated sodium peroxoborate hexahydrate filtered off. Stabilizers for the perborate, such as silicates or magnesium salts, may be added to the reaction mixture. Residual moisture (3 to 10%) is removed in a hot air drier. The mother liquor from the second step can be returned to the first step. The end product contains ca. 10.1 to 10.4% “active oxygen” (theoretically 10.38%). The bulk density of the perborate is adjusted to that of the other components in detergents (“light perborate”) by special steps in the process. Older manufacturing processes, which started from sodium peroxide or use electrochemical processes, are no longer used.

Sodium perborate production:

Step I : Formation of metaborate from borax and sodium hydroxide Step 2: Reaction of metaborate with HlO1 forming perborate, which is then filtered off from the cooled solution and dried

Active oxygen content: 10.I to 10.4% (theoretically 10.38%) Sodium Carbonate Perhydrate (Sodium Percarbonate) In contrast with sodium perborate, which is a genuine peroxo compound. Sodium percarbonate is only a perhydrate. I t has the composition Na2C0, . 1.5H202.It can be manufactured using “dry” and “wet” processes. In a modern dry process, hydrogen peroxide and a sodium carbonate solution are sprayed onto a fluidized bed of sodium percarbonate which is fluidized with warm air. The f7nes are returned ro the process and the o verxized partickr are ground. In the wet process, sodium carbonate solution and hydrogen peroxide are reacted together in stoichiometric proportions. The percarbonate precipitates out upon cooling after vacuum concentration, if required.


Sodium percarbonatc: from soda and H202

“dry” in tluidiied bed “wet” i n d u t i o n with subsequent cool crystallization


1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Stabilizers have to be added to sodium percarbonate, because i t decomposes ea\ily Active oxygen content ca. 133% (theoretically 15.28%)

Since percarbonate is much less stable than perborate, stabilizers such as alkali silicates or phosphates are used in both processes. For its use in detergents it can also be coated with an organic or inorgdnic materia\ to increase its stability. Its active oxygen content is ca. 13.5910 (theoretically 15.28%). Alkali Peroxodisulfate Diammonium peroxodisulfate produced electrochemically from solutions of sulfuric acid and ammonium sulfate on platinum electrodes

Diaodium and dipotassium peroxodisulfate manufacture: electrochemically or from diammoniutn peroxosulfate with KHS04, NaOH or Na?CO? respectively

Diammonium peroxodisulfate is produced by electrolyzing solutions of ammonium sulfate and sufuric acid, in cells with or without diaphragms, using the Lowenstein-Riedel Process (see Section

The voltage used is between 5 and 7 V (theor.: 2.1 V) and the current density between 0.5 and 1 A/cm2. Graphite or lead cathodes and platinum anodes are used. During electrolysis the solution becomes enriched with peroxodisulfate up to a concentration of I to I .5 mol/L. Pure diammonium peroxodisulfate (purity >99%) precipitates out upon cooling. After adding ammonium sulfate and sulfuric acid to the mother liquor, it is returned to the electrolysis cell. Disodium and dipotassium peroxodisulfates can also be produced in cells without diaphragms by the electrolysis of the corresponding disulfates. Alkali peroxodisulfates can also be produced by a metathesis reaction with diammonium peroxodisulfate:

+ 2 KHS04 4K2S208 + 2 NH4HS04 (NH4)2S208+ 2 NaOH --+ Na2S20, + 2 NH3 + H 2 0 (NH4)2S208 Sodium Peroxide Sodium peroxide production: Step I : Formation of NazO Step 2: Further oxidation to Na202

Sodium peroxide is produced from sodium metal and oxygen (from air) in two steps:

2 N a + 0 . 5 0 2 --+N a 2 0 Na20 + 0.5 O2 --+ Na202

1.3 Hydrogen Peroxide und Inorganic Peroxn Compounds

Sodium monoxide is first produced by adding sodium metal intermittently to sodium monoxide in a rotary tube reactor while passing air through i t countercurrently. The sodium metal rapidly distributes itself over the surface of the monoxide and in doing so is oxidized. The reaction temperature is 200 to 700°C and the heat of reaction is sufficient to maintain this temperature. In this way a noncaking material is obtained. The monoxide formed, containing a few per cent of peroxide and less than 1 % sodium is withdrawn from the reactor intermittently. The oxidation of the monoxide to sodium peroxide is carried out in a similar reactor at 350°C. As this step is only slightly exothermic (-79.5 kJ/mol) heating is needed. The end product is formed as beads with a diameter of 0.5 to 1 mm and a purity of 97 to 98%.

Reaction temperature ot 2nd step: 350°C

Pur,ty of Na202. 97 tO 98%

1.3.3 Applications Hydrogen Peroxide, Sodium Perborate and Sodium Carbonate Perhydrate The fields in which hydrogen peroxide is utilized vary considerably from region to region. This is due to different washing temperatures. In Europe, the household wash is carried out at relatively high temperatures. Therefore, the detergents contain perborate or percarbonate, whose manufacture accounts, in Europe and the Federal Republic of Germany, for ca. 40% of the hydrogen peroxide produced. Detergents in Europe contain about 15 to 30% perborate with ca. 23% in the Federal Republic of Germany. The consumption of hydrogen peroxide in several important regions is shown in Table 1.3-5. The heading "production of chemical products" includes the conversion of ally1 alcohol to glycerine with hydrogen peroxide, the production of epoxy-compounds such as epoxy soya oil (plasticizer for PVC) and organic peroxides (e.g. methyl-ethyl-ketone-peroxide, dibenzoylperoxide), which are used as free radical initiators i n polymerization processes. The production of amine oxides such as lauryldimethyl-amine-oxide with hydrogen peroxide (used as a rinsing agent in dishwashers) is also included.

H 2 0 2 applications: vary considerably region to region. Minimal use in the manufacture




1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Table 1.3-5. Hydrogen Peroxide Consumption in Different Regions in 1990 in 1O’t.

Perborate & percarbonate production Bleaching of paper Bleaching of textiles Production of chemical products Miscellaneous

Western Eurone

USA/ Canada


170 I42 40 84 8

13 I27 23 28 44

10 66 18 52 I

The consumption of hydrogen peroxide in the manufacture of high quality paper is expected to increase strongly, at least in the USA. In the textile industry, hydrogen peroxide is mainly used for the bleaching of cotton, although it is also used for the bleaching of wool. The consumption of hydrogen peroxide in the treatment of effluent, especially for the removal of phenols, cyanides and sulfur compounds (hydrogen sulfide), is also expected to increase strongly. Alkali Peroxodisulfates and Sodium Peroxide Peroxodisulfates: over 65%, used as a polymerization initiator

Most of the peroxodisulfate produced (>65%) is used as a polymerization initiator in the production of poly(acrylonitrile), emulsion-polymerized PVC etc. The rest is utilized in numerous applications (etching of printed circuit boards, bleaching processes etc.). Sodium peroxide is mainly used for bleaching of paper and textile raw materials and competes thereby with sodium hydroxidelhydrogen peroxide.

References for Chapter 1.3: Hydrogen Peroxide and Inorganic Peroxo Compounds Reviews: Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1989. 5. Ed., Vol. A 13,443-466, VCH Vcrlagsgcsellschaft. Weinhcim. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1991. 5. Ed., Vol. A 19, 177 197, VCH Verlagsge~ellschaft,Weinheim. Winnacker-Kuchler. Chemicche Technologie. 1982. Anorganische Technologie I, Bd. 2, 563-606, Carl Hanser Verlag, Miinchen. Kirk-Othiner, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 199.5. 4. Ed.. Vol. 13, 961-995. John Wiley & Sons. New York. ~

Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1996. 4. Ed., Vol. 18, 202-229, John Wiley & Sons, New York. Crampton C.A. ct al 1977. Thr Mtrrir!firc~/urr.Prop,rrir.c m d U.WYof Hjdrojim Prroxitk tind Inorgrinic Prroxy Conipoimds, in: Thompson, R . (ed), The Chemical Society, Burlington Housc, London. W~r.c.crr.src!ffj,L.t.(j-oxid urid .scJinr I l c ~ r i ~ ~ i1978. t e . Weigert, W. (Hrsg.), Hiithig Verlag, Heidelberg.

Commercial Information: Chem. Ind., XXXIII, Dec. 1981. 806. Chemical Week, 4 November I 98 I , 49.

1.4 Nitrogen arid Nitrogen Compounds

Chemical Week, 16 September, 19 Chem. Ind., XXXII, Oct. 1980,698. Chemical Week, 17 November 1982, 29-30. Chemical Week, 3 August 1994,36 Chemical & Engineering News, 30 January 1995, IS. Chemical Engineering, 7/199S, 67. European Chemical News, 25 April 1983, I 1 .

Hydi-ogriz Peroxide. 1980. 1992. 1994. Chemical

Economics Handbook, Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California.

Technical Information: Weigen, W., Delle, H., Kiibisch, G., 1975. Hor.,rc~//roig und Eigen.schcIfir17 w i i W~i,s,, Chcm. Z 99. 101-10s

1.4 Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds 1.4.1 Ammonia Ammonia is an important primary inorganic material. 85% of the worldwide production is utilized in the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers. Ammonia production therefore represents an indicator of the size of the fertilizer industry in a particular country. Economic Importance

In recent years the worldwide production capacity for synthetic ammonia has increased slowly to its current high level from 102 . lo6 t in 1983 to 112 . lo6 t in 1993. Growth has mainly occurred in developing countries, the capacity in the Western World having largely stagnated or in the case of Western Europe decreased. The proportion of worldwide capacity in Western Europe has fallen from 15% in 1983 to 12% in 1993. Some increase in worldwide capacity is expected in the near future. Ammonia is produced as a byproduct in coking plants, but this accounts for less than 1% of the worldwide capacity for ammonia. Synthetic Ammonia Manufacture General Information Large scale manufacture of synthetic ammonia is exclusively carried out with “synthesis gas” (N2+ 3H2; this

NHI Worldwide production capacity (106 t): 1983: I02 1993: 112



I Primary Inorganic Muterials

term is also used for the gas mixtures of carbon monoxide and hydrogen used for the synthesis of organic products):

N2 + 3 H2 + 2 NH, AH = -91.6 kJ/mol Formation of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen in the Haber-Bosch process is favored by: high pressure low temperature active catalyst pure gas (as little inert gas a5 possible) NHi-synthesis consists of the following process steps:


conversion q f co to C O ~

gas and removal of the

which is based on the investigations of Haber in 1904 into the equilibrium between nitrogen, hydrogen and ammonia. The industrial manufacture of ammonia resulted from a later cooperation with Bosch and Mittasch (both from BASF). The first Haber-Bosch plant was commissioned at BASF in 1913. The exothermic reaction between nitrogen and hydrogen occurs in the presence of suitable catalysts and results in volume reduction, the highest ammonia concentrations being obtained at the highest possible pressure and the lowest possible temperature. The upper limit for the applied pressure is determined by the cost of compression of the gas mixture and the cost of the high pressure plant. The reaction temperature is determined by the type and activity of the catalyst. The removal of ammonia from the reaction gas should be as complete as possible to favor the fresh formation of ammonia. Other important parameters are the contents of inert gas and oxygen compounds in the unreacted synthesis gas. All ammonia production plants in the world operate according to the same basic principles i.e. reaction of nitrogen and hydrogen in a catalyst-filled pressure reactor at temperatures between 400 and 500"C, pressures between 100 and 1000 bar (depending upon the plant) and removal of the ammonia formed from the reaction gas. The plants differ in their design, catalyst composition and production and purification of the synthesis gas.

a-Iron is formed from magnetite Catalysts for NHJ-synthesis: promoter-containing a-iron Promoters increase the activity, lifetime and temperature stability of the catalyst and reduce its susceptibility to poisoning Promoters: K2C03 increases activity, decreases temperature stability A1203, SiO2, CaO protect against presintering and thereby increases temperature stability CaO reduces susceptibility to sulfur and chlorine compounds Ammonia Synthesis Catalysts Ammonia synthesis catalysts consist of a-iron with small quantities of different oxides, so-called promoters, which increase the activity of the catalyst, increase its lifetime and decrease its susceptibility to poisoning. The starting material for a-iron is magnetite, Fe304, which is mixed with the promoter substances, which are essentially: potassium carbonate, which in the presence of acidic and amphoteric oxides such as silicon dioxide or aluminum

1.4 Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds

oxide increase the catalytic activity, but decreases the temperature stability aluminum oxide, silicon dioxide and calcium oxide, which under the catalyst production conditions form aluminosilicates, which protect the catalyst particles from presintering and thereby increase the temperature stability of the catalyst. Calcium oxide also increases the resistance of the catalyst to poisoning by, for example, sulfur and chlorine compounds. Some catalysts contain oxides of lithium, beryllium and vanadium as promoters. The catalysts can therefore be tuned to the particular conditions pertaining in the particular ammonia reactor, which accounts for the differences in composition between industrially utilized catalysts. Catalysts are produced by melting together a mixture of magnetite with the promoters at temperatures of ca. 1500°C in an electric furnace or an electric arc furnace, followed by rapid cooling, pulverizing and sieving. A particle size of 6 to 10 mni is normally required, but there are also ammonia plants for which 1 to 2 mm particles are preferred. The subsequent reduction of the magnetite is of crucial importance to the quality of the catalyst. It is normally carried out with synthesis gas i n the pressure reactor of the ammonia plant at not too high pressures (70 to 300 bar, depending on the plant type) and at temperatures between 350 and 400"C, whereupon highly porous a-iron is formed: Fe,O,

+ 4 H,


3 Fe + 4 H,O

The oxide promoters are not themselves reduced, but their presence decreases the reduction rate. The concentration of the water resulting from the reduction must be kept low to prevent its coming into contact with the freshly reduced catalyst, otherwise premature aging takes place. As a result high gas velocities are used. Modern ammonia furnaces contain up to 100 t of catalyst and the reduction lasts several days. An alternative process in which catalysts have been prereduced in separate plants, has become favored in recent years. These catalysts are pyrophoric and are therefore stabilized by exposure to nitrogen containing 0.2% oxygen at 100°C. Only a short reaction time is required to reduce the thereby partially oxidized catalyst in the ammonia reactor.

Production of catalysts by melting magnetite and promoter oxides together, followed by cooling, pulverizing, sieving

Reduction of magnetite: conventional by synthesis gas in a pressure reactvr prereduction in a separate plant preferred



1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Catalyst poisons:

0-,S-. P- and As-compounds: hydrocarbons and inert gases also interfere

as argon

These catalysts are extremely sensitive to catalyst poisons, which reduce chemisorption of hydrogen and nitrogen on the active surfaces of the catalyst and thereby reduce its activity. Gaseous oxygen-, sulfur-, phosphorusand chlorine compounds, such as water, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, the latter being reduced to water under ammonia synthesis conditions, are particularly troublesome in this regard. Catalyst poisoned with oxide compounds can be reactivated by reduction with pure synthesis gas. Catalysts containing sulfur-, phosphorus- or arseniccompounds cannot be regenerated under the conditions of ammonia synthesis. A catalyst filling can have a lifetime of 5 years or more, if a highly purified synthesis gas with less than 10 ppm of oxygen-containing compounds is used. Hydrocarbons such as methane and inert gases such as argon also interfere with the process, since they interact with the catalyst surface and hinder the diffusion of nitrogen and hydrogen into the catalyst pores. Synthesis Gas Production Raw Materials

Synthesiq gas: N l - from air or natural gas H2- from reaction of natural gas or naphtha with H 2 0 (by steam reforming) - from heavy fuel oil and H20 (by partial oxidation) - from coal and water (by coal gasification)

The production of one ton of ammonia requires a mixture of 2400 m3 of highly purified hydrogen and 800 m3 of highly purified nitrogen (at 0°C and 1000 mbar). It is produced using different processes depending upon the raw materials utilized. Nitrogen is taken from air or from the nitrogen content of natural gas. This is carried out by low temperature fractionation of air, which is preferred when pure oxygen is required as an oxidizing agent in the production of synthesis gas. Alternatively air is employed directly in the production of synthesis gas and the oxygen is removed by the to be oxidized reaction partners. Hydrogen is produced from hydrocarbons or coal and water: from natural gas (methane) and naphtha (raw gasoline) using the steam-reforming process from crude oil products (e.g. heavy heating oil) from coal (coal gasification) by partial oxidation

80% o f t h e hydrogen produced is produced on the basis of natural gadcrude oil

The choice of process depends upon the availability of raw materials. Hydrogen for ammonia synthesis is currently rarely produced by water electrolysis, except in countries

1.4 Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds

with cheap electricity. Before World War 11 ca. 90% of the hydrogen production for ammonia synthesis was produced by coal gasification. With the availability of the cheap raw materials natural gas and crude oil, this process is unimportant. In the event of increased natural gas and crude oil prices, coal gasification could become more attractive, particularly in countries with cheap coal. About 80% of the World’s production of hydrogen is produced from natural gas and crude oil. The rest is mainly produced from coal or coke with, 4% being produced by water electrolysis. These proportions vary from region to region, natural gas being mainly used in the USA and Europe, whereas coal is mainly used in South Africa and India.

Manufacture of Mixtures of Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Carbon Monoxide Steam-Reforming (from natural gas and naphtha)

In the steam-reforming process, natural gas or naphtha are reacted in the presence of catalysts at temperatures between 700 and 830°C and pressures of up to 40 bar in an endothermic process with steam to hydrogen, carbon monoxide (and carbon dioxide):

C n H Z n + z + n H 2 0--+ n C O + ( 2 n + 1)H2 The reaction mixture still contains, depending upon the reaction temperature, 7 to 9% by weight of methane. These reactions are carried out in primary reformers containing a number of vertical catalyst-filled tubes. The heat of reaction is supplied externally e.g. by an allothermal process. The catalyst is nickel oxide on a carrier such as aaluminum oxide or magnesium oxide-aluminum oxidespinels reduced by hydrogen to nickel under the conditions obtaining in the steam-reforming process. These nickel catalysts are very susceptible to poisoning, in particular by sulfur compounds, but halogens and arsenic compounds also interfere. The sulfur-compound containing natural gas and naphtha utilized in the steam-reforming process, have therefore to undergo prior desulfurization. This is accomplished by

Steam reforming: methane o r naphtha are cracked in a “primary relormer” at 700 to 830°C under pressui-eon NiO-AI201- o r NiOMpO-A1203-cataly\I\

preliminary hydro-desulfuriiation of raw materials on COO-or NiO- and MoO?-containing catalysts at 3.50 to 450°C; H$S is adwrbed on ZnO



I Primary Inorganic Materials

in ii “secondary rcfornier” CH, is converted into H2 and CO at 1000 to 1200°C in the presence of Cr2Ojcontaining catalyst temperature increase by input of air and combustion of part of the cracking pas the quantity of air i b regula~etlso that 3 inoleb HI and I mole N2is present

contacting the raw materials with cobalt- or nickelmolybdenum oxide-containing catalysts in the presence of hydrogen at 350 to 450°C, whereupon the sulfur-carbon compounds are reduced to hydrogen sulfide which is adsorbed on zinc oxide. After- desulfurization, steam is added and the mixture heated to 480 to 550°C before it is fed into the primary reformer. The gas leaving the primary reformer contains between 7 and 10% methane. This is removed in so-called “secondary reformers” in which the gas leaving the primary reformer is partially burnt with air in nickel catalyst-filled shaft furnaces (autothermal process), whereupon the temperature increases to ca. 1000°C. Under these conditions the methane reacts with the steam reducing the methane content in the synthesis gas to ca. 0.5 mole %. The quantity of air is adjusted to give the nitrogen to hydrogen ratio required for the stoichiometry of the ammonia synthesis. Partial Oxidation of Heuvy Heating Oil

In partial oxidation, the raw materials, e.g. heavy heating oil, are oxidized to hydrogen and carbon monoxide with insufficient oxygen for total combustion:

2 CnH2n+2 + no2 _ j 2 nCO + 2 (n + 1)H2

the partial oxidation is autothermal Partial oxidation: different crude oil fractions are oxidiLed incompletely at 1200 to 1500°C and 30 to 40 bar with inwfficient oxygen for complete combustion desulfurimtion of raw materials is unnecessary

If oxygen-enriched air is used, its quantity is adjusted to give the nitrogen to hydrogen ratio required for the stoichiometry of the ammonia synthesis. The partial oxidation is autothermal and in contrast to steam reforming does not require a catalyst. It proceeds at temperatures between 1200 and 1500°C and at a pressure of 30 to 40 bar (plants operating at a pressure up to 80 bar are rare). To avoid exceeding this temperature range, the starting gas mixture is spiked with a little hydrogen. The advantage of the partial oxidation process is that sulfur does not interfere and therefore desulfurization is unnecessary. Disadvantageous compared with steamreforming is, however, that an air fractionation plant for oxygen production is necessary (utilization of air giving a limitedly usable nitrogerdhydrogen-ratio of 4/1 instead of the required ratio of YI).


1.4 Nitrogen und Nitrogen Conzpounds

The soot formed as a byproduct in the partial oxidation process has to be scrubbed out with water and recycled in a fairly complex process. Industrial processes are operated by Shell and Texaco.

formed ah a scrubbed out with water the

has tO be

Cod Gusijicution

A mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane and sometimes nitrogen is formed upon the partial oxidation of coal (hard or soft coal) with oxygen or air and steam at high temperatures. The main reaction taking place during the gasification is the reduction of water with carbon to hydrogen and carbon monoxide:







and H70-vapoI at high teinpei-aturcs


and the exothermic partial combustion of carbon to carbon monoxide:

Under these conditions water and carbon monoxide react forming hydrogen and carbon dioxide, and methane is formed by the reduction of carbon monoxide or carbon with hydrogen. All the industrial processes are autothermal, 30 to 40% of the coal utilized being burnt to attain the required high reaction temperatures. This is also the case for the Lurgi pressure gasification process carried out in a mechanically agitated solid bed at ca. 1200°C (as used e.g. in Sasolburg in South Africa), for the Koppers-Totzek process in which the coal is used in the form of flyash (atmospheric pressure, 1400 to 1600°C) and for the Winkler process operating with a pressureless fluidized bed at 800 to 1100°C. These gasification processes are, on the basis of invested capital and energy consumption, still inferior to the processes for producing hydrogen-carbon monoxide mixtures from hydrocarbons. The utilization of nuclear process heat in (allothermal) coal gasification plants e.g. with 950°C helium from high temperature nuclear reactors has been postponed to the distant future, due to the stopping of development work in the Federal Republic of Germany.


proccshcs: Lurgi

K ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ . T ~ , , , ~ ~ Winklei


I Primatv Inorganic Materials

Conversion of Carbon Monoxide CO-conversion to Hz

+ CO with steam

The next step in the manufacture of synthesis gas is the removal of carbon dioxide by oxidizing it with steam to carbon dioxide, the steam being reduced to hydrogen:


High temperature conversion at 350 to 380°C: on iron oxide/chromium oxide catalysts or on sulfur-insensitive CoiMo-containing catalysts Low temperature conversion at 200 to 250°C on very aulfur-sensitivc CuO/ZnOcatalysts Selection of different conversion processes is dependent upon the sulfur-content of the gas mixtures: lor steam-reforming: low temperature conversion or a combination of high temperature and low temperature conversion for partial oxidation: only high temperature conversion

+ CO, + H,

As this water gas conversion reaction is exothermic, low temperatures favor the formation of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Iron-chromium oxide catalysts, reduced with hydrogencontaining in the conversion plants, permit reactions temperatures of 350 to 380°C (high temperature conversion), the carbon monoxide content in the reaction gas is thereby reduced to ca. 3 to 4% by volume. Since, these catalysts are sensitive to impurities, cobalt- and molybdenum-(sulfide)containing catalysts are used for gas mixtures with high sulfur contents. With copper oxide/zinc oxide catalysts the reaction proceeds at 200 to 250°C (low temperature conversion) and carbon monoxide contents of below 0.3% by volume are attained. This catalyst, in contrast to the iron oxidelchromium oxide high temperature conversion catalyst, is, however, very sensitive to sulfur compounds, which must be present in concentrations of less than 0.1 ppm. Gas mixtures from the steam reforming process are without further treatment sulfur-free, since they have already been desulfurized at the raw material (natural gas and naphtha) stage due to the sensitivity of the steam-reforming catalysts to poisoning by sulfur compounds. On the other hand reaction gases from the partial oxidation process contain sulfur compounds, since the starting materials have not been subjected to prior desulfurization. Such gas mixtures can therefore only be subjected to high temperature conversion with sulfur-resistant catalysts and the hydrogen sulfide formed has to be removed with the carbon dioxide afterwards. The reaction gases from the steam-reforming process can, by contrast, be worked up in low temperature conversion plant or, preferably, worked up by a combination of high temperature and low temperature conversion.

1.4 Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds


Removal of Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen Sulfide In the next step the carbon dioxide, mostly from the conversion reaction, and the hydrogen sulfide, if present, are removed from the gas mixture. This is accomplished either by physical or chemical absorption in appropriate solvents. In the physical absorption processes such as the Rectisol process (carried out at low temperatures with methanol as solvent) the gas mixture under pressure is brought into contact with solvent in absorption columns, the solvent being regenerated by pressure release or high temperature stripping. In this process carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide can be jointly scrubbed or selectively by using a small quantity of methanol, whereupon only hydrogen sulfide is absorbed with only a little carbon dioxide. The residual carbon dioxide can then be absorbed separately. The Fluor-Solvent (propylene carbonate), Purisol (N-methylpyrrolidone) and Selexol [poly(ethyleneglycol dimethyl ether)] processes operate with lower vapor pressure solvents than that used in the Rectisol process. Chemical absorption processes use different absorption agents e.g. organic amines such as mono-, di-, triethanolamine, N-methyldiethanolamine or diisopropanolamine (Shell). BASF’s alkazide process uses the potassium salt of monomethylaminopropionic acid. Aqueous solutions of potassium carbonate with added corrosion inhibiting and reaction activating agents (e.g. Benfield process) are widely used as absorption agents. Combinations of physical and chemical absorption are also used, as in Shell’s Sulfinol process in which a mixture of diisopropanolamine and sulfolane in water is utilized. For the hydrogen sulfide-free gases from the steam-reforming process, chemical scrubbing with activated potassium carbonate solutions or alkanolamines is preferred. In the case of hydrogen sulfide-containing gases from the partial oxidation process, physical absorption alone or in combination with chemical absorption is preferred.

Removal of the acidic gases CO? and H?S by physical or chemical absorption

Physical absorption: with methanol, propylene carbonate, N-methylpyrrolidone. poly(ethyleneglycol dimethyl ether)

Chemical absorption: with mono-, di- and triethanolamine, N-methyldiethanoloamine, diisopropanolainine, pota/air ratio has to be varied with operating pressure to keep it below the lower explosion limit. NH3 concentration of 9.5 to 13% are possible depending upon the pressure

Pt catalysts for NH? oxidation: Pt/Rh 90: 10 or 95: 5 Pt/Rh/Pd 903:s Contact time ca. 10-3 s

During NH? oxidation PI losses occur which increase with increasing pressure Up to 80% recoverable


I Psimury Inorganic Marerials

gas-heating. It is then reacted with additional atmospheric oxygen (secondary air) to nitrogen(1V) oxide (NO2):




4 H = -1 14 kJ/mol

This reaction is favored by low temperatures, the temperature coefficient of the rate constant being negative, and still more strongly by increased pressure due to the volume reduction during the reaction. Dimerization to dinitrogen(1V) oxide is also promoted by low temperatures and high pressures.

2NOl NO oxidation and NO1 dimerization favored by low temperatures and high pressures

HzO-content of combustion gases removed by cooling: acid condensate (2 to 50%)

+ N204

4 H = -57 kJ/mol

The nitrogen(I1) oxide oxidation takes place partly in the waste heat boiler, due to reaction with the excess oxygen present in the combustion gases from the ammonia oxidation, and partly (after addition of secondary air) in the lowest stage of the absorption columns (mostly operated at high pressures) or in an oxidation tower before the absorption column. The higher the pressure in the combustion step the greater the amount of nitrogen(1V) oxide formed during the cooling of the combustion gases. This reacts with the reaction water forming nitric acid, the HN03 concentration in these so-called acid condensates being 2 to 50%. Convession of Nitsogen(1V )Oxide into Nitsic Acid: The gas mixture obtained by oxidation of nitrogen(I1) oxide, containing nitrogen(1V) oxide and dinitrogen(1V) oxide (so-called nitrous gases), is reacted in the third reaction step with water as follows:

3 NO2 + H 2 0 N204+ H 2 0

+2 HNO, + NO 4 H = -73

+HN03 + HN02

kJ/mol AH = -65 kJ/mol

to nitric acid, nitrogen(I1) oxide and nitrous acid. The nitrous acid is further oxidized to nitric acid by the (atmospheric) oxygen present, either i n the liquid or vapor phase.

1.4 Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds

The absorption of the nitrous gases in the process water is favored by low temperatures, high pressures and longer contact times. The quantity of process water, of which the acid condensate is a part, is dependent upon the required nitric acid concentration. Higher pressures permit the production of higher nitric acid concentrations (up to 70% HN03), since under pressure almost complete absorption of nitrous gases can be attained in a small quantity of process water with low emission of residual gas. Only 45 to 50% nitric acid can be produced at atmospheric pressure.

NO2/N2O4-absorption in water a function of: temperature (as low as p o 4 h l e ) pressure (as high as possible) contact time moss transfer the quantity of water provided The most important parameter in the absorption is the pressure. At high pressure (up to I5 bar) concentrated acid can he produced and tail gas purification can be diyxnsed with Plant Types There are basically two types of processes for the manufacture of nitric acid i.e. mono(sing1e)-pressure processes in which ammonia combustion and absorption of nitrogen oxides take place at the same pressure and dual pressure processes in which the pressure in the first stage is lower than that in the second stage. In addition nitric acid plants can be categorized on the basis of operating pressure: low pressure-(L)-, medium pressure-(M)- and high pressure-(H)-plants which operate in the pressure ranges: 1 to 2 bar, 3 to 67 bar and 8 to 12 bar, occasionally up to 15 bar, respectively. The plant type is characterized by the pressure ranges for ammonia combustion and oxidation/absorption. The current tendency in the nitric acid industry is to ever larger plants (capacities up to 1500 t of 100% HN03/d) and to ever higher pressures both in the combustion and in the absorption stages to solve emission and other problems. The developments in the USA and in Western Europe are somewhat different: 90% of the plants in the USA being monopressure/high pressure plants (H/H-type), whereas in Western Europe many plants operate in the medium pressure and medium/high pressure ranges (M/M-types and M/H-types respectively). The advantages of H/H-plants are: relatively low plant costs, low space requirements and satisfactory emission values, so that tail gas cleaning is unnecessary. The disadvantages are: high catalyst consumption, high energy consumption (due to compression of gases) and low nitrogen(1) oxide yield. 75 to 80% of the production costs of nitric acid are the cost of ammonia. In M/M- and M/H-plants ammonia combustion occurs at comparatively low pressures, the high nitrogen(I1) oxide


Modern HNO? plants: monopressure plants - medium pressure 3 to 6 bar - high pressure 8 to I5 bar dual preswre plants combustion at 4 to 6 bar oxidation/absorption at 8 to 10 har

Plant type selection on the basis of: local factor\ raw material and energy costs investment costs emission regulations

Important elements in HNOx manufacturing costs: ammonia price energy costs catalyst IOsses amorti/ation of plant Costs of running thc coinpi-cssorsaccount for almo\t half of the plant costa


1 Primary Inorganic Materials

yields are high, the catalyst losses are low and the compression costs are low. Combination with high pressure plants provides a satisfactory solution to absorption and emission problems. Older plants, particularly L/L-type plants, have for environmental reasons been equipped with additional plants to clean up the tail gases. Process Description Air for ammonia combustion has to be carefully prepurified to avoid deactivation of the Pt-catalyst Utilization of the heat content of the 900°C reaction gases for steam generation reduces the manufacturing costs for nitric acid Compression energy can be partly recovered by gas expansion driven turbines. Tail gas heating improves energy recovery

Compression energy can be partly recovered via gas expansion driven turbines The acid condensate resulting from the cooling of NO-containing combustion gases is fed into the absorption towers

The first stage in a nitric acid plant consists of an ammonia evaporator and air compressor whose products are mixed, prewarmed, carefully prepurified with gas filters to remove catalyst poisons and then fed into the combustion chamber in which the gas flows downwards through the platinum gauzes suspended in it. The operating lifetime of catalysts varies from 3 to 18 months depending upon the combustion system. The hot reaction gases with a temperature of ca. 900°C are passed into a heat exchanger (waste heat boiler) in which they are cooled to ca. 150°C [combustion in a L/M-plant type: 10 to 12% NO, 17 to 20% H,O, 2 to 5% 0, (by volume) with the remainder being made up of N,, inert gases and a small amount of NO2]. The steam generator integrated into the plant produces steam at e.g. 4OO0C/40 bar which is mostly fed into a local network. This substantially reduces the manufacturing costs of nitric acid. Nitric acid plants with appropriate equipment can supply energy despite the very high energies required for compression, particularly in high pressure plants. Much of the heat liberated in the three exothermic reactions is, however, at such low temperatures (oxidation of nitrogen(I1) oxide, absorption of nitrous gases in water) that it cannot be utilized economically. The nitrogen(I1) oxide-containing combustion gas is further cooled in a gas cooler to ca. 20 to 30°C, whereupon most of the water vapor is condensed as a nitric acidcontaining acid condensate. This is fed into the absorption towers as part of the process water. The virtually dry gas is oxidized by mixing it with secondary air (blow off air) and also fed into the absorption unit. In dual pressure plants, the reaction gas is compressed to the absorption pressure in an acid resistant nitrous gas compressor and the heat of compression removed by heat exchangers and coolers (heating up the tail gases). Part of the compression energy is recovered by turbines driven by heated tail gases. The nitrous gases are driven up the absorption towers and the

1.4 Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds

process water flowing in countercurrent down the towers absorb the nitrous gases. Here oxidation of the residual nitrogen(I1) oxide occurs according to the above equation. The size of the absorption volume is dependent upon this reaction. Most of the large volume absorption towers are constructed of chromium-nickel steel and filled with Raschig rings or with bubble or sieve plates which are sprayed from above with water [which is precooled by supplying the heat for ammonia evaporation (combustion stage)] forming concentrated nitric acid at the bottom of the tower. The acid concentration depends upon the quantity of water fed in at the absorption stage: e.g. ca. 0.20 m3/t is required for 65% acid and 77.8% nitric acid can be theoretically formed when acid condensate is used as the absorption agent ( I .5 mol H 2 0 is produced per mol NH,). At higher acid concentrations the emission of nitrogen oxides in the tail gas increases, particularly at low pressures. Absorption at atmospheric pressure or slightly higher pressures is, therefore, only to be found in older plants. Such plants can operate very economically, but may no longer be built due to current legislation concerning nitrous gas emissions. The residual gas is heated up with the aid of compression heat to ca. 250 to 300°C to improve energy recovery and released into the atmosphere by way of expansion gas driven turbines (with or without precleaning). In monopressure plants there is no nitrous gas compressor. In plants operating at high pressures e.g. H/Hor M/H-plants, the absorption volume is much smaller: at 10 bar the volume is only one tenth that necessary at 4.6 bar, so only one tower is necessary.


Mass transfer systems: Raschig rings bubble plates sieve plates

78% acid is theoretically possible if no water is added

At low pressures only weaker acids can be produced, due to too high No,-values with little process water Manufacture of Highly Concentrated Nitric Acid The 50 to 70% nitric acid produced in conventional nitric acid plants is suitable for industrial purposes e.g. the manufacture of fertilizers, the synthesis of ammonium nitrate, for example, requiring 60% acid. However, for nitration reactions in organic synthesis a highly concentrated (ca. 98 to 99%) nitric acid is required. Since nitric acid forms an

Highly concentrated (98 to 99%) nitric acid mainly utiliied for nitration


I Primary Inorganic Muterials

Manufacture of highly concentrated nitric acid: direct processes (variants of normal HNO? synthesis) indirect processes (H20-removal from weak HN03)

azeotrope with water at 69.2% nitric acid, concentration of weak acid by distillation is not possible. Highly concentrated nitric acid can be produced by direct and indirect processes. Direct processes are favored in Western Europe, whereas indirect processes are favored in the USA.

Direct Processes Direct processes for highly concentrated nitric acid manufacture: oxidation of N 2 0 4 with pure oxygen in the presence of H20 under high pressure absorption of N02/NO i n concentrated HNO? producing superazeotropic acid, followed by distillation

Direct processes for highly concentrated nitric acid manufacture also provide: weak acids (in any desired concentration) pureNzOj

In the direct highly concentrated nitric acid processes, of which there are many variants, the nitrous gases resulting from the catalytic combustion of ammonia and oxidation of the resulting nitrogen(I1) oxide are either separated and the dinitrogen(1V) oxide reacted with oxygen and water forming nitric acid, or dissolved in concentrated nitric acid and the superazeotropic acid distilled. The latter is the more economic process even compared with the indirect processes, because pure oxygen production is not required and the investment costs are lower. In the Uhde process for manufacturing highly concentrated nitric acid the ammonia combustion is carried out with air at atmospheric pressure and the reaction water is largely separated as acid condensate from the nitrogen(I1) oxide upon cooling. The nitrogen(I1) oxide is then compressed together with secondary air to e.g. 6 bar. Oxidation takes place in oxidation towers and the residual nitrogen(l1) oxide is converted to nitrogen(1V) oxide in a post-oxidative reactor with highly concentrated nitric acid:

After cooling and removing residual water, the nitrogen(1V) oxide is physically absorbed in highly concentrated deep frozen nitric acid and is thereby separated from the other components of the gas (nitrogen, residual oxygen). The acid is then distilled producing 98 to 99% nitric acid (sump product), which is partly recycled, and nitrogen(1V) oxide (head product). The latter is liquefied by deep freezing, whereby it almost completely dimerizes to dinitrogen(1V) oxide, which can, if desired, be partly separated off as a byproduct. The liquid dinitrogen(1V) oxide is then stirred with dilute nitric acid and fed back with a high pressure centrifugal pump into the reactor, in which the dinitrogen(1V) oxidehitric acid/water mixture is

1.4 Nitrogen and Nitrogen Compounds

oxidized with pure oxygen at a pressure of 50 bar to highly concentrated nitric acid: N204

+ H20 + 0.5 0 2 + 2 HN03

The gas emerging from the absorption column is scrubbed with acid condensate (ca. 2% nitric acid from the ammonia combustion, see Section, which reduces the nitrous gas concentration to < 200 ppm, and is then vented. The consumption figures for this process are summarized in the adjoining marginal notes. In Davy McKee's Sabar process (Strong Acid By Azeotropic Rectification) the nitrous gases from the oxidation of nitrogen(I1) oxide are absorbed in azeotropic (ca. 68 to 69%) nitric acid in the presence of atmospheric oxygen (at 6 to 13 bar) and superazeotropic acid is formed:

2 NO2 + 0.5 0


+ H20 + 2 HN03

The acid is degassed by blowing out with secondary air and distilled (the head product consisting of highly concentrated acid and the sump product of the azeotropic acid). The azeotropic acid is recycled. The concentration of nitrous gas in the tail gas is < I00 ppm. In the Sabar process the manufacture of low or medium concentration acid is possible in addition to highly concentrated acid. These are obtained by adding acid condensate from the combustion of ammonia to the sump of the nitric acid tower. The Conia process, a pressure process (ca. 5 bar) in small units, produces highly concentrated nitric acid, weak acid in any desired concentration and pure dinitrogen(1V) oxide. In this process most of the combustion water from the ammonia combustion is removed by condensation as 30 to 40% acid condensate. After the oxidation of nitrogen(I1) oxide, part of the nitrogen(1V) oxide formed is reacted in countercurrent with acid condensate, additional process water and atmospheric oxygen to medium concentrated nitric acid (SO to 70%) in the usual way. The remaining nitrogen(1V) oxide is processed to highly concentrated nitric acid.

Consumption figures for direct manufacture of highly concentrated nitric acid with 02-addition per t of 100% HNO3: 0.282 tNH3 125 in'O? 285 kWh electrical energy 200 m3 cooling water (AT = 7°C)

0.6 t sumlus steam



1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Indirect Extractive Distillation Processes Highly concentrated nitric acid manufacture by indirect processes: dehydration of water-containing HNO3 with concentrated H2S04 or Mg(NO& solutions In the USA: mainly indirect extractive distillation processes: in Europe: mainly direct strong nitric processes

Of the various indirect processes for the manufacture of highly concentrated acid only two are industrially important: the sulfuric acid process and the magnesium nitrate process. In the sulfuric acid process, which poses considerable corrosion problems, medium Concentrated nitric acid is first produced using conventional methods (e.g. in a M/M-type unit) as in the magnesium nitrate process. Concentrated sulfuric acid is fed in at the head of the concentrating tower. During the extractive distillation, diluted sulfuric acid accumulates in the sump and 99% nitric acid is driven off. The diluted sulfuric acid is then concentrated by vacuum distillation and recycled. In the magnesium nitrate process weak acid is distilled with 72% magnesium nitrate solution, whereupon highly concentrated nitric acid is driven off at the head of the dehydration tower. The sump product is then concentrated by vacuum distillation. Tail Gases from Nitric Acid Manufacture Tail gases from HN03 plants per t of 100% HNO1: up to3300m’ NO,-content: 1SO to >2000 ppm

NO2 content of tail gases (40 to SO% of the NO,) causes brown coloration (NO is colorleas)

Plants for manufacture of highly concentrated nitric acid and modern high pressure absorption plants: optimum mass transfer plates effective cooling sufficiently large reaction volumes do not have tail gas emission problems (NO,: 100 to 200 ppm)

In the manufacture of nitric acid up to 3300 m3 of the water vapor-saturated tail gases (residual and end gases) are produced per t of 100%nitric acid. They contain up to 97% nitrogen, 1% inert gases, 2 to 4% oxygen (by volume) and, depending upon plant type, 150 to >2000 ppm of nitrogen oxides NO, (NO, NO, and traces of N,O) calculated on the basis of nitrogen(I1) oxide. The nitrogen oxide emission values for low pressure and medium pressure plants are higher. The tail gas quantities can be drastically reduced by carrying out the ammonia combustion and nitrogen(I1) oxide oxidation with pure oxygen, but this is uneconomic. Nitric acid plants were in the past identifiable by the yellow-brown color of their tail gas emissions. This color is due to their nitrogen(1V) oxide content (ca. 40 to 50% of the NO,-content). Modern plants with high pressure absorption steps (ca. 8 to 15 bar, mono or dual pressure processes), optimum mass transfer plates (sieve plate technology), sufficiently large absorption volumes (and hence long contact times) and low cooling water temperatures do not pose any emission problems, because their nitrogen oxide content is WOT

4 P + 10s + P,S,(] Purification by e.g. distillation

Applications in the manufacture of: insecticides lubricating oil additives flotation agents

bzw. 4 P + 10 S +



The reaction product can either be directly poured onto cooling rollers or first purified by distillation (b.p. 513 to 5 15OC). If a non-discolored phosphorus(V) sulfide is required, organic impurity-free phosphorus and very pure sulfur have to be used. The former can be obtained by sulfuric acid extraction and the latter from natural gas purification. Applications: Phosphorus(V) sulfide is used in the manufacture of insecticides (ca. 40%), lubricating oil additives (ca. 50%) and flotation agents.

Phosphorus Halides Phosphorusflll) chloride

PCIl USA-capacity in 1995: 192 - 103t/a

The consumption of phosphorus(I11) chloride in the USA increased from a low point of 73 . 10' t in 1983 to 142.5 . lo3 t i n 1994. The phosphorus(II1) chloride capacity in 1995 for both USA and Western Europe was 192 . lo3 t and 20 . 10' t in Japan. Phosphorus(I11) chloride is manufactured from white phosphorus and chlorine in an exothermic reaction: 2P+3ClZ

PC13 manufacture:

2 P + 3 Cl* * 2 PC13 purification by distillation



This reaction can be carried out in a number of ways. Chlorine can be passed into a suspension of phosphorus in phosphorus(II1) chloride. The heat liberated during the reaction is sufficient to evaporate off the phosphorus(II1) chloride, which is condensed in reflux condensers and in

1.5 Phosphorus and its Compounds

part returns to the reaction mixture. Part of the distillate is run off and purified by fractional distillation. Direct reaction of stoichiometric quantities of phosphorus and chlorine in a burner is also possible with subsequent working up. Technical phosphorus(II1) chloride has a purity of greater than 99.7% and does not contain elemental phosphorus. AppEications: In I994 about half of the Phosphorus(II1) chloride consumed in the USA was utilized in the manufacture of the intermediate phosphorous acid, a further 19.4% to phosphorus(\/') oxychloride. Di and trialkylphosphonates, triarylphosphonate, phosphorus(\/) sulfochloride and phosphorus(V) chloride are also manufactured directly from phosphorus(II1) chloride. Broken down according to the field of application of the end products, the consumption of phosphorus(II1) chloride is the USA in 1994: 53.6% was utilized for pesticide production (mainly for glyphosphate), 18% for the manufacture of water treatment chemicals (phosphonic acids) and tensides (acid chlorides of fatty acids and secondary products), 17.1% in the manufacture of polymer additives (flame retardants, stabilizers etc.) as well as small quantities for the production of hydraulic fluids, lubricants and additives for lubricating oils.


Application\: in the manufacture of: phoyhorous acid (H3P01) phosphorus(V) oxychloride (POCII) di and tri-esters of phosphoric x i d acid chlorides of fatty acids phosphonic acid (HjPOj)

Phosphorus( V )chloride

Phosphorus(V) chloride is manufactured continuously in lead-lined towers in which phosphorus(II1) chloride is fed in from above and chlorine from below: PCI,+Cl,


PCI5 Manufacture: PCI? + Clz --f PC15


The phosphorus(V) chloride formed sinks to the bottom and is removed by a screw conveyor. Applications: Phosphorus(V) chloride is mainly used as a chlorination agent in organic chemistry.

Application: as a chlorination agent in organic chemistry

Phosphnrus(V) oxychloride

The phosphorus(V) oxychloride consumption in the USA fluctuated in the period 1983 to 1993 between 24.3 . 10, and 29.1 . 10' t. Since the beginning of the 1990's there has

POCI3: USA-capacity in 199.5:4 0 .




I Primary Iitorganic Materials

been a steady increase in consumption: 1991: 24.7; 1992: 26.0; 1993: 29.1; 1994: 30.7 . lo3 t. The production capacities in different countries in 199.5 were 39.9 . 10' t/a in the USA, 100 . 10' t/a in Western Europe and 33.6 lo3 t/a in Japan. It is manufactured by reacting pure phosphorus(II1) chloride with oxygen with cooling at ca. SO to 60°C: 2 PCI,

+ 0, 2-50 in 60 "C


This is a free radical reaction, which is inhibited by small quantities of sulfur, sulfur compounds, iron, copper etc. The reaction product is further purified by fractional distillation. The extent to which phosphorus(V) oxychloride is still industrially produced from diphosphorus(V) oxide and phosphorus(\/) chloride (from phosphorus(lI1) chloride and chlorine) according to the reaction: P,O,


of aliphaticand main,y i n the aromatic esters of phosphoric acid

+ 3 PCl, + 3 c1, --+5 POCl,

is unknown. Applications: Phosphorus(V) oxychloride i s mainly used in the manufacture of aliphatic and aromatic esters of phosphoric acid, which are used as tlame retardants and plasticizers in plastics, as hydraulic fluids and as extraction agents. 58% of the phosphorus(V) oxychloride consumed in the USA in 1994 was utilized in the manufacture of polymer additives, 14% in the synthesis of hydraulic fluids and lubrication additives. Phosphorus( V )sulfochloride

Phosphorus(V) sulfochloride can either be manufactured from phosphorus(II1) chloride and sulfur at 180°C in an autoclave or by passing phosphorus(II1) chloride vapor through molten sulfur: PCl,+S



1.5 Phosphorus and its Compounds

Catalysts such as e.g. aluminum chloride reduce the reaction temperature to such a degree that the reaction can be carried out in phosphorus(V) sulfochloride. Purification is by distillation.

Application of PSCI?:

manufacture "fester chlorides thiophosphoric acids (precursor\ for pesticides)

Application; Phosphorus(V) sulfochloride is mainly utilized in the manufacture of ester chlorides of thiophosphoric acids (precursors for pesticides).

Acids and Salts of Phosphorus with P 400.

lo3 t/a

Aluminum fluoride is utilized, in addition to cryolite, as a raw material in the electrolytic manufacture of aluminum (temperature of electrolyte: 950"C, composition: 8045% Na3AIF,, 5 7 % AIF,, 5-7% CaF2, 2-6% Al20,, 0-7% LiF). No fluorine should actually be consumed in this process, modern plants recovering the fluorine in its entirety. Other uses are: as a flux (in welding, soldering, manufacture of casts), and as a melting point depressant in glass and enamel. The aluminum fluoride capacities in Europe are given in the table below. Table 1.7-8. Aluminum Fluoride Production in Europe in 1992 in 10' t/a. France











starting tluorspar fluorspar tlucmpar tluorspar hexafluore silicic acid material Most important European manufacturer is PCUK with a capacity of 96. 1 0 3 t/a.

Aluminum Fluoride Manufacture from Hydrogen Fluoride Manufacture of aluminum fluoride. from hydrated aluminum oxide from hexatluorosilicic acid

In the Lurgi process aluminum hydroxide is first calcined at 300 to 400°C and then reacted with hydrogen fluoride in a fluidized bed reactor at 400 to 600°C (dry process): 300 - 400 "C

2 Al(OH)3 A1203

+ 6 HF


400 - 600 "C A


+ 3 H20 + 3 H20

This process places high demands on the plant materials, alloys such as Inconel or Monel being used. In the PCUK process calcined hydrated aluminum oxide is reacted with a mixture of hydrogen tluoride and furnace gas. The hydrogen fluoride is produced in situ from fluorspar and sulfuric acid in a directly heated rotary tube furnace. The resulting mixture of hydrogen fluoride and furnace gases is reacted with calcined aluminum hydroxide to aluminum fluoride in a fluidiLed bed reactor.

1.7 Hulogens and Hulogen Compounds

Aluminum Fluoride Manufacture from Hydrofluoric Acid Hydrofluoric acid (1560% by weight) is reacted in a further process (wet process) with aluminum hydroxide to aluminum fluoride trihydrate (AIF, . 3H,O), which is, e.g., calcined in a rotary tube furnace.

Aluminum Fluoride Manufacture from Hexafluorosilicic Acid Chemie Linz AG Process

In this process a hexafluorosilicic acid solution is reacted with aluminum hydroxide at 100°C. After separating off the silica which precipitates, the aluminum fluoride crystallizes as its trihydrate. Heating above 500°C provides anhydrous aluminum fluoride. 2 Al(OH)3 + H2SiF6

100 “C

+ 2 AlF3 + 4 H20 + ,510,

The dehydration of aluminum fluoride trihydrate (AIF, . 3H20) above 300°C results in partial pyrolysis and the formation of aluminum oxide (A1,0,) and hydrogen fluoride. This is prevented by first removing 2.5 molecules of water at 200°C and then completing the drying with a short heating at 700°C. Table 1.7-9. Standard Aluminum Fluoride Oualitv in 5% bv weight. 90-92



Fe as Fez03

S as SO2


0. I

0. I


This process is operated in Sweden, Rumania, Tunisia and Japan.

UKF Process In the UKF process hexafluorosilicic acid is reacted with ammonia to ammonium fluoride and silica. After silica removal, the ammonium fluoride solution is reacted with double its molar quantity of aluminum oxide hydrate to a mixture of ammonium aluminum hexafluoride (ammonium



I Primary Inorganic Materials

cryolite) and aluminum oxide hydrate. After separation, this is converted at 500°C into aluminum fluoride, ammonia and water: H2SiF6 + 6 NH,

+ 2 H 2 0 ---+ 6 NH4F + S i 0 2 100°C

6 NH4F + A1203 --+ [(NH,),AIF, 2 [(NH,),AlF,

+ 0.5A120,]+ + 1.5 H20

+ 0.5 A12031


3 NH3

+ 6 NH, + 3 H2O

--+ 4 AlF, Sodium Aluminum Hexafluoride (Cryolite) Uses of cryolite: manufacture of aluminum processing of aluminum waste as aflux: - in steel aluininiration - in welding technology additive in abrasives in the remelting of light metals

Cryolite is utilized in the manufacture of aluminum , in processing of aluminum waste (as a flux in electrochemical removal of magnesium), as a flux in aluminization of steel and in welding technology, in manufacture of glass and enamel, as an additive in manufacture of abrasives and as an auxiliary product in remelting of light metals.

the the the the the the

Table 1.7-10. Cryolite Production in 1992 i n 103t/a. quantity

Manufacture of cryolite: from hydrogen fluoride solutions or, currently more favored , from hexafluorosilicic acid


F R. Germany







The worldwide capacity for cryolite in 1980 was 330 . lo3 t/a. There are a number of processes for manufacturing cryolite, starting from aqueous hydrogen fluoride solutions of hexafluorosilicic acid. In the latter case hexafluorosilicic acid is first converted into an ammonium fluoride solution, which is then reacted with sodium aluminate. H2SiF,

+ 6 NH, + 2H20

--+ 6 NH4F + SiOz

6 NH4F + 3 NaOH + A1(OH)3 --+ Na,AIF6

+ 6 NH, + 6 H 2 0

In variants of this process, the ammonium fluoride is first reacted with sodium hydroxide to ammonia and sodium fluoride and then with aluminum fluoride to cryolite. After separation, the cryolite is calcined at 500 to 700°C. In the

I . 7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds

manufacture of cryolite, as in the manufacture of aluminum fluoride, three things particularly need to be taken into consideration: the electrolytic manufacture of aluminum demands extreme purity of the ingredients. Phosphate (< 0.1%), silica (< 0.5%) and iron, in particular, interfere and appropriate purification has to be carried out. the slight solubility of both aluminum fluoride and cryolite in water. In their production the fluoride concentration in the effluent must be carefully monitored and measures taken to ensure that the maximum permitted emission levels are not exceeded. the presence of fluoride residues in the silica byproduct obtained when hexafluorosilicic acid is used as the source of fluorine. The silica must be disposed of appropriately. Alkali Fluorides Sodium fluoride and potassium and ammonium hydrogen fluorides are industrially important (NaF, KF.HF, NH,F.HF). They are manufactured by reacting either hydrogen fluoride or hexafluorosilicic acid with the corresponding alkali hydroxides. Ammonium hydrogen fluoride is mainly produced by the reaction of anhydrous ammonia and hydrogen fluoride in the melt. The melt is solidified e.g. by means of cooling rollers. Ammonium hydrogen fluoride can also be obtained by evaporating an ammonium fluoride solution. Sodium fluoride is utilized in the manufacture of organofluoro-compounds (halogen exchange reaction), as a preservative, and as a source of fluorine for toothpaste additives (sodium monofluorophosphate). Potassium hydrogen fluoride is used as a frosting agent in the glass industry and as a starting material for the manufacture of elemental fluorine. Ammonium hydrogen fluoride is used for the dissolution of silicate minerals in the extraction of crude oil, for the pretreatment of aluminum prior to anodization and as a frosting agent in the glass industry.



1 Primary Inorganic Materials Hexafluorosilicates

Hexafluorosilicates mainly used in: wood protection water fluwidation

Sodium and potassium hexafluorosilicate are manufactured by reacting alkali salts (e.g. chlorides) with hexafluorosilicic acid and subsequent separation of the poorly soluble alkali hexafluorosilicates. Magnesium, zinc and copper hexafluorosilicates, which are very soluble in water, are manufactured from hexafluorosilicic acid and the appropriate oxide and then recovered by evaporating the solution. Hexafluorosilicates are mainly used as preservatives in wood protection (particularly magnesium hexafluorosilicate). Sodium hexafluorosilicate is used in water fluoridation. Uranium Hexafluoride Uranium hexafluonde: see Chapter 6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Uranium hexafluoride is the key compound in the separation of the uranium isotopes 235U and In its manufacture uranium(1V) oxide is first reacted with hydrogen tluoride to uranium tetrafluoride, which is then reacted with elemental fluorine to uranium hexatluoride:

UO, + 4 H F



A detailed description of this process is given i n Chapter 6. Boron Trifluoride and Tetrafluoroboric Acid The manufacture of boron trifluoride proceeds either discontinuously by reacting borates with fluorspar and oleum or continuously by reacting, for example, hydrogen fluoride with boric acid in the presence of sulfuric acid, to bind the water formed: Na2B407+ 6 CaF,


+ 7 SO, + 4 BF, + 6 CaSO, + NazS04





I . 7 Halogens and Htzlogen Compounds


The reaction of boric acid with fluorosulfonic acid also yields boron trifluoride:

3 HS0,F

+ H,BO,


BF3 + 3 H2S04

Pure boron trifluoride is marketed as a compressed gas. It is utilized mainly in the organic industry as a Friedel-Crafts catalyst (Lewis acid) in the form of its complexes or addition compounds with, for example, ether, alcohols, carboxylic acids etc. or as a pure substance. Tetrafluoroboric acid is industrially important and is manufactured from boric acid and hydrogen fluoride:


B~~~~ tritluoride: applicationmainly

a Friedel.Crafts


+ 4 HF +HBF, + 3 HZO

Alkali, ammonium and transition metal fluoroborates can be produced from the acid. These fluoroborates are utilized as fluxes in the galvanic deposition of metals, as flame retardants etc.

Fluoroborates: as fluxes i n the

metal&and as flame retardants Sulfur Hexafluoride Sulfur hexafluoride (sublimation temperature -63.9"C) is manufactured from sulfur and elemental fluorine:

The reaction is strongly exothermic. Lower sulfur tluorides are formed as byproducts together with the extremely poisonous disulfur decafluoride. Most of the lower sulfur fluorides are easily hydrolyzable, but sulfur decafluoride can only be decomposed by pyrolysis: 400 "C


+ SF4 + SF6

After pyrolysis it is scrubbed with aqueous alkali. Oxygen, nitrogen and carbon tluorides (from the fluorine) are removed by distillation under pressure. Several thousand tons of sulfur hexatluoride are produced worldwide per year.

Worldwide production of sulfur hexatluoride: several 10' t/a



I Primary Inorganic Materials

Applications: in high voltage switching installations in magnesium casting heat and noise insulation in insulating glass

Sulfur hexatluoride is utilized as an extinguishing agent in high voltage-power switches, as a protective gas in high voltage installations (due to its high dielectric constant, high electrical breakdown resistance, non-toxicity), for inhibiting the ignition of magnesium melts during casting (added in less than 1% to the air) and in insulating glass, particularly for heat and noise insulation. Organofluoro Compounds by Electrochemical Fluorination Electrochemical fluorination: manufacture of perfluoro- compounds with functional groups by electrolysis of the corresponding nonfluorinated compounds in liquid hydrogen fluoride

When no elaborate precautions are taken, reactions of organic compounds with elemental fluorine generally lead to their decomposition and the formation of lower carbon fluorides. The exchange of all the hydrogen atoms of an organic compound by tluorine with retention of any functional groups can be achieved on an industrial scale by electrochemical fluorination, which was discovered by Simons in about 1941. Nickel electrodes are used. The to be fluorinated compound is dissolved in hydrogen tluoride and electrolyzed at voltages between 5 and 10 V, current densities of 100-200 A/m’ and electrolyte temperatures of 0-20°C. The electrolyte has to be cooled to dissipate the electrical work resulting from the passage of current through the electrolyte. To avoid large entrainment losses of hydrogen tluoride, the hydrogen escaping from the cell, which is saturated with hydrogen fluoride, has to be strongly cooled in a cooler, so that the hydrogen fluoride can be returned to the cell. The pertluorination occurs at the anode, hydrogen being produced at the cathode. The perfluorinated compounds produced are generally insoluble in hydrogen fluoride and have a high density, so that they collect on the bottom of the electrolysis cell. Gaseous perfluorinated compounds (e.g. perfluoromethylsulfonyl tluoride) escape from the cell with the hydrogen produced. The process was first industrially operated (by 3M) in 1951. The flow chart below shows a electrotluorination plant:

1.7 Halogens and Hulogen Compounds

to flue gas cleaning plant low temperature reflux I


oigdnic utarting material

hydrogen fluoride

clcctrolysis cell

product take-off

storage vessel Fig. 1.7-3. Flow Sheet of an Electrotluorination Plant.

Examples of industrially utilized electrofluorination products are e.g. the perfluoroalkylsulfonyl fluorides,

CnH,2,+I,S02F+ ( 2 n t l ) HF

n . 53.6 Ah A

CnF(2n+I,S02F+ (2n+l)H2 which are utilized as starting materials for flame retardants (potassium salt of perfluorobutane sulfonic acid), tensides (potassium salt or tetraethylammonium salt of pertluorooctanoic acid), textile oleophobizing agents, fire extinguishing agents, emulsifiers for the polymerization of tetrafluoroethene and flow improvers for paint systems.

Application\ of pertluoro-alkane sulfonic .. and carboxylic acids and their derivatives:

. '

retardants ~.


textile finishing fire extinguishing~~t~ emulsifiers catalysts flow improvers in paints

References for Chapter 1.7.1: Halogens and Halogen Compounds Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1994. 4. Ed., Vol. I I , 241pp., Fluorine Cornpourztfs Inorgunic, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1988. 5 . Ed.. Vol. A I I , 307 pp., VCH Verlagagesellschaft, Weinheim. Chemical Economics Handbook. 1995. Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park. California, USA.



I Primary Inorganic Materials

1.7.2 Chloralkali Electrolysis, Chlorine and Sodium Hydroxide Economic Importance Chlorine: indicator for the strength of the chemical industry in a country

About 70% of all chemical products are produced with the involvement of chlorine in one or more synthesis steps. Chlorine production is therefore an indicator of the strength of the chemical industry in a country. Up to 1985 the growth rate of chlorine production was mostly higher than the chemical industry as a whole and significantly greater than the increase in GNP (Gross National Product). From 1985 the restrictions on the use of many chlorinecontaining products and recycling measures to convert the hydrogen chloride formed in many chlorination reactions into chlorine and chlorine products, such as in dry cleaning, have had an effect. Products, which due to their persistence or due to their long term effects are harmful to the environment, have been particularly affected, for example several chlorinated pesticides and fluorohydrocarbons. The decline in the use of chlorine in pulp-bleaching should also be mentioned. As a result there was a slight decrease in chlorine production between 1989 and 1992 in the Federal Republic of Germany. Since 1993 the quantity of chlorine produced in the Federal Republic of Germany and worldwide has increased steadily, see Fig. 1.7-4 and Table 1.7-1 1. Chlorine Production in Germany on the Increase in miilion t o m

4,0 33 38 25 2.0

Fig. 1.7-4. Chlorine production i n the Federal Republic of Germany (1981 to 199.5).

1.7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds

Table 1.7-11. Chlorine Production from 1982 to 1995 in Western World ~




106 ria.

European Union






















In 1997 the chlorine production in the European Union was 9.4. loh t with the plants operating at 87.8% of capacity. The capacities of the most important chlorine producers in 1997 were: Table 1.7-12. Chlorine Capacity from Rock Salt Electrolysis in 1997 (in 10' t). Europe







Dow OxyChem

Canada Latin America


















*45 "60









Elf Atochem












































* Joint ventures Since ca. 97% of the chlorine is produced from the electrolysis of aqueous sodium chloride solution, the linked products sodium hydroxide and hydrogen are produced as byproducts: e-

2 NaCl

+ 2 H20 +

2 NaOH + CI,

+ H2


Chlorine production is coupled to the production of: .\odium hydroxide hydrogen



I Primary Inorganic Materials

In Table 1.7-13 figures for the production of sodium hydroxide are given for the years 1982, 1987, 1993 and 1995. The balancing of the marketing of chlorine and sodium hydroxide was and is a difficult problem, in which in the past first one product then the other product was in the forefront. The marketing of the hydrogen is generally not a problem. If the supply exceeds the demand for chemical synthesis, the excess can be burnt in power stations. Furthermore, the contribution of hydrogen produced by electrolysis only accounts for a few per cent of the total production. Sodium hydroxide production in 1995: Western World 45.0. I06 t FRG 3.3 ' 106 t

Table 1.7-13. Sodium hydroxide production from 19x2 t o 1995 in 106 Ua. FRG

Western World


European Union



















For applications of chlorine and sodium hydroxide see Section Starting Materials 97% of chlorine is produced by the electrolysis of sodium chloride volutions

Availability of NaCl as a raw material is unlimited

Almost the whole production of chlorine is produced by the electrolysis of aqueous sodium chloride solutions. Only a small part is obtained by the electrolysis (or oxidation) of hydrochloric acid (or hydrogen chloride) (see Section 1.7.3). Small quantities of chlorine are also produced in the electrochemical manufacture of metals such as sodium. Sodium chloride: Sodium chloride is, as a starting material for the electrolytic production of chlorine and sodium hydroxide, available in unlimited quantities. It is either extracted from natural deposits (up to 70%) or from seawater. In the USA, the economically workable deposits of sodium chloride are estimated to be greater than 55 1012 t and in the Federal Republic of Germany there is estimated to be 100 . lo3 km3 of deposits. Extraction is either carried out by mining or leaching (i.e. dissolution of

1.7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds

subterranean salt deposits by injection of freshwater and pumping out the brine). While some of the salt produced by mining contains 99% sodium chloride, some contains only 95 to 98%, the rest being clays, anhydrite, quartz, dolomite, fluorspar and mica. In the latter case, the salt is concentrated to 98 to 99% sodium chloride by sieving and gravitational separation. The latter utilizes the differences in specific gravity between sodium chloride and anhydrite and clays in a slurry of magnetite in a saturated sodium chloride solution. In leaching, the insoluble components are left behind underground. Evaporated salt can be obtained by evaporating brine. Pretreatment of the brine is necessary to attain sufficient purity. Calcium, magnesium and sulfate ions, in particular, have to be removed:

Mg2+as Mg(OH), by the addition of Ca(OH),, Ca2+as CaC03 by the addition of sodium carbonate (or C02 from furnace gases), Sod2by evaporating to the point at which sodium sulfate is about to precipitate out. The evaporation is carried out in multistage plants. Evaporated salt is very pure (> 99.95%, with ca. 100 ppm of Ca2+). Utilization of evaporated salt is gaining in importance due to the progressive introduction of chloralkali membrane electrolysis technology, which places high demands on the purity of the sodium chlorine-brine utilized. Extraction of salt from seawater occurs almost exclusively by solar evaporation in salt meadows, except in Japan where it is not possible for climatic reasons. Here electrodialysis is used to concentrate the seawater. Seawater is evaporated: by concentrating the seawater in the first evaporation pool; transporting to the next evaporation zone, in which calcium sulfate precipitates out; and finally crystallizing sodium chloride in a further evaporation zone. The residual brine is rich in potassium and magnesium salts. The salt obtained is too impure to be used in electrolysis. Washing in special units is sufficient to increase the sodium chloride content to > 99%. 1 m3 of seawater yields ca. 23 kg of sodium chloride.

Extraction of NaCI: from natural deposits. either by mining or leaching from seawater

Purification of the brine by precipitation of impurities in the production of evaporated salt

Evaporated salt: purity > 99.95%

Extraction of salt from seawater by evaporation of electrodialysis



I Primury Inorganic Muteriuls

Salt purification depends upon electrolysis process to be utilized: mercury process diaphragm process membrane process

Purification for the mercury process: multistage precipitation with Ba2+, NaOH, Na2C03

Purification for the membrane process: additional purification over ion exchanger?

Purification for the diaphragm process: precipitation with sodium carbonate

Depending upon the electrolysis process utilized: amalgam, diaphragm or membrane, different additional purification steps are required. In the mercury process, solid salt is utilized, which is dissolved in water. If evaporated salt is used, purification can be carried out in a small branch loop. When mined salt is utilized, care has to be taken during dissolution to settle out the impurities. Soluble impurities are removed by precipitating SO,*- with Ba2+, precipitating Mg2+ and Fe3+ as hydroxides by the addition of NaOH and precipitating Ca2+as carbonate with sodium carbonate (see the production of evaporated salt). The membrane process also utilizes solid salt, but with a much higher purity, particularly as regards multivalent ions. Thus the Ca2+ content has to be additionally reduced to below 0.1 ppm (compared with 3 ppm for the mercury process) with the aid of ion exchangers such as LewatitB TP 208 (see Section The diaphragm process generally utilizes brine. Multivalent ions such as Ca2+,Mg’+, Fe3+, A13+ and silica, which block the diaphragm, are precipitated out by the addition of sodium hydroxide and sodium carbonate. Economic Importance of Sodium Chloride

NaCI-consumption in Western Europe: 213 as industrial salt, of which > 9 0 8 is for electrolysis and sodium carbonate manufacture 1/3 as common salt, mainly for salting roads (> 30%) and for food preservation (> 20%)

In Western Europe about two thirds of the sodium chloride is utilized in the chemical industry (industrial salt), of which more than 90% is for electrolysis to chlorine and sodium hydroxide and for sodium carbonate manufacture. For the remainder (common salt) the most important use is for the salting of roads, which is very strongly weather dependent and is declining for ecological reasons. For taxation reasons sodium chloride utilized for the salting of roads is “denatured”. Quantitywise the next most important application is for food conservation in the sectors of meat, dairy products and margarine. Of the numerous other uses the dye, detergent and leather industries and for softening of water (ion exchanger) are worthy of mention. The worldwide production of sodium chloride in 1993 is given in Table 1.7- 14.

I . 7 Halogens und Hulogen Compounds


Table 1.7-14. Sodium Chloride Production in 1993 i n 10" t/a. World






F.R. Germany



I .2









Great Britain

6.3 Manufacturing Processes Three processes are industrially operated in which aqueous solutions of sodium chloride are electrolyzed for the manufacture of chlorine, sodium hydroxide and hydrogen: mercury process diaphragm process membrane process Manufacture using the membrane process is gaining in importance, since new chlorine capacity exclusively utilizes this technology. In Japan sodium chloride electrolysis is exclusively carried out membrane plants. The percentage contributions of the three processes to chlorine production are given in Table 1.7-15 (Europe) and Table 1.7-16 (worldwide). Table 1.7-15. Contributions of the Chlorine Production Processea in Europe in %.

Contribution Mercury process


Diaphragm process


Membrane process


Industrially operated electrolysis processes: mercury process diaphragm process membrane process


1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Table 1.7-16. Contributions ofthe Chlorine Production Processes worldwide in R . 2010 (estimated)



Mercury process




Diaphragm process




Membrane process



50 Mercury Process The amalgam cells consist of slightly inclined steel troughs, over the bottoms of which flow a thin mercury layer, which absorbs the sodium and acts as the cathode. Horizontal anodes adjustable in height at which chlorine is produced are incorporated into the lid of the cells. The chlorine is drawn off upwards through gas extraction slits. The amalgam emerging from the ends of the cells is converted on graphite into mercury, 50% sodium hydroxide solution and hydrogen in a strongly exothermic reaction (see Fig. I .7-5, 1.7-6 and I .7-7).

Mercury process: electrolysis of aqueous NaCI-solution on a Hg-cathode and graphite or titanium anode; separate decomposition of the sodium amalgam formed


pure brine/

depleted brine




pure brine




Fig. 1.7-5. Schematic representation o f the electrolysis of aqueous Chlorine production in the Federal Republic of Germany (198 I to 1995). c12


graphite contact

Fig. 1.7-6. Mercury process electrolysis cell.

I . 7 Hulogens and Hulopn Cornpounds

NaCl precipitation chemicals




hydrogen p>hydmgen purification to consumers


Fig. 1.7-7. Flow sheet o f the mercury process.

Description of mercury cells: cathode surface area: 10 to 30 m2 mercury layer thickness: 3 mm sodium concentration in mercury: 0.2 to 0.4% (by weight) 50 to 180 individual anodes per cell cathode-anode separation: 3 mm anode material: graphite or, preferably, titanium coated with a noble metal compound (so-called dimensionally stable anodes DSAB; brine throughput per cell: 3 to 20 m1 /h salt solution with a sodium chloride content of g/L is electrolyzed at ca. 80°C, during which the chloride content falls to 260 to 280 g/L. This concentrated by adding solid salt and recycled. electrolysis the following reactions take place: reaction at anode: C1---+ 0.5 C1,

+ e-; deposition

voltage ca. 1.24 V

reaction at cathode:

xHg + Na+ + e-+

NaHg,; deposition voltage ca. -1.66 V

Typical side-reactions are: at the anode: C1,

+ 2 NaOH --+

at the cathode:


+ NaCl + H 2 0

ca. 310 sodium is then During

ti2 to consumers


to consumers



I Primary Inorganic Materials


+ 2e- -+

2 C1-

C10- + 2 H+ + 2 e

- j H,O

+ CI-

The electrochemical yield is 94 to 97%, the energy consumption ca. 3300 kWh/t chlorine, the effective cell voltage 4.2 V and the current density 8 to 1.5 kA/m2. The amalgam formed at the cathode is decomposed with water: NaHg,

+ H,O +

0.5 H2 + NaOH

+ xHg

The electrical energy stored in the amalgam is thereby converted into heat. Mercury process: capacity of industrial planta: up to 300 . I O3 t/a chlorine up to 340. 10' t/a sodium hydroxide

Capacities of industrial plants: SO to 300 . lo3 t/a chlorine 56 to 3 4 0 . lo3 t/a sodium hydroxide

In modern units the height of the anodes is computer controlled. Chemical and physical processes are used to reduce the mercury concentration in the effluent, exit gases and products to the ppb level. Diaphragm Process Industrial diaphragm cells consist of a box in which the anode plates are mounted vertically parallel to one another. The cathodes are flat hollow steel mesh structures covered with asbestos fibers, optionally impregnated with fluoroorganic resins, and fit between the anodes (see Fig. 1.7-8, 1.7-9 and 1.7-10). monopolar electrode arrangement: anode surfaces of up to 50 m2 per cell (activated titanium). Cathodes and anodes are all electrically connected with one another bipolar electrode arrangement: electrode surface areas of up to ca. 35 m2. Cathodes and anodes are connected back to back.

I. 7 Halogens und Halogen Compouds



chlorine I

pure brine -

asbestos diaphragm Fig. 1.7-8. Schematic representation of the electrolysis of aqueous salt solutions by the diaphragm process.

12 11


Fig. 1.7-9. Electrolysis cell for the Diaphragm process (Hooker-Cell S 3 from Uhde). Condensation product H2 0 NaCl solution precipitation chemicals


50% NaOH


precipitated sludge



pure chlorine

chlorine hydrogen +

1% NaCl alkali

recovered salt alternatively to amalgam electrolysis

Fig. 1.7-10. Flow sheet of the diaphragm process.




I Primary inorganic Muteriuls

Diaphragm process: electrolysis of aqueous NaCI-solutions at titanium anodes and steel cathodes. Separation of anode and cathode chambers by an asbestos diaphragm. The anodic solution passes through the diaphragm into the cathode chamber. Dilute NaCIcontaining sodium hydroxide is formed.

The salt solution fed into the anode chamber passes through the diaphragm into the cathode chamber. The chlorine produced at the anode is drawn off upwards and hydrogen and sodium hydroxide mixed with residual salt are produced at the cathode. The asbestos diaphragm has a number of functions: it has to hinder the mixing of hydrogen and chlorine. The tangled fiber structure of the asbestos allows liquids to pass through, but not fine gas bubbles (the 4% of chlorine which dissolves in the brine does, however, pass into the cathode chamber where it is reduced thereby reducing the yield). it hinders to a large extent the back-diffusion of the cathodically-formed OH- ions to the anode. The flow rate of the brine into the anode chamber is regulated to limit the back-diffusion and the hydrostatic pressure therein. Upon electrolysis, the sodium chloride content of an initially saturated solution falls to ca. 170 g/L. The reactions at the anode are the same as in the mercury process. However, hydrogen is produced at the steel cathode: H20+e-



The cell alkali leaving the cathode chamber contains ca. 12% NaOH and 15% NaCl (by weight). Recovery of sodium hydroxide: The alkali solution is evaporated to SO% by weight of sodium hydroxide, whereupon the salt, except for a residual I % , precipitates out. This salt is very pure and can be further utilized for concentrating depleted brine or, in the case of combined plants, in the mercury process. Evaporation is carried out in multi (up to four)-stage forced circulation evaporators. 5 t of water have to be evaporated per t of SO% sodium hydroxide solution. A further purification of this salt-containing sodium hydroxide is possible, but very expensive. Capacity of industrial plants: Diaphragm process: capacity of indu\trial plants: up to 360 . 10-71/21 chlorine LIPto 4 I 0 . I O1 t/a sodium hydroxide

360 . lo3 t/a of chlorine corresponding to ca. 4 10 1O3 t/a of sodium hydroxide at a specific current density of 2.2 to 2.7 kA/m2. The electrical energy consumption is ca. 20% less than that in the mercury process.

I . 7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds Membrane process In the membrane process the cathode and anode chambers are separated by a water-impermeable ion-conducting membrane (see Fig. 1.7-1 I). hydrogen

chlorine depleted *brine





__ H+




sodium hydroxide solution


Fig. 1.7-11. Schematic representation of the electrolysis of aqueous salt solutions by the membrane process.

The membrane has to be stable under electrolysis conditions i.e. high salt concentrations, high pH-jump between anode and cathode chambers and to the strong oxidizing agents chlorine and hypochlorite. These demands are fulfilled by membranes with a perfluorinated polyethene main chain with side-chains with sulfonic acid and/or carboxylic acid groups as produced by DuPont and Asahi Glass. fCF2-CFzMCF-CF2+, I 0



Yafion@ (DuPont)


(Asahi Glas)

CF2 I FC - CF3






Multilayer membranes are also used, which have, for example, thin sulfonamide layers on the cathode side.



1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Membrane procers: cathode and anode chambers are separated by an ion-conducting membrane. Titanium anodes, stainless steel or nickel cathodes used, Na+ travel from anode ,.hamher to cathode chamber. Very pure 20 to 35% NaOH produced.

Operation of membrane cells: The same processes take place on the allodes and cathodes ;LS in diaphragm cells. Activated titanium is used for the anodes and stainless steel or nickel is preferred for the cathodes. No water transport takes place in the absence of current, but upon application of current solvation-water is transported by the currentcarrying Na+ ions as they travel from the anode chamber to the cathode chamber. The brine has to be much purer than for the mercury process. Ca2+content, for example, must be below 20 ppb, otherwise Ca(OH), precipitates in the membrane, rapidly leading to its destruction see Section The concentration of virtually chloride-free sodium hydroxide in the cathode chamber is between 20 and 35% by weight, depending upon the type of membrane used. With the newest membrane types the current yield with respect to sodium hydroxide is over 97%. This nonquantitative current yield is due to the passage of hydroxide ions into the anode chamber, which causes chlorate formation. Since the brine is recycled, as with the mercury process, appropriate measures have to be taken to limit its chlorate concentration. This can be achieved by feeding in hydrogen chloride, although the pH must not be reduced too much, otherwise the membrane is damaged. Membrane cells are similar in their construction to a filter press. Mono- and bi-polar cells are available. The cell voltage is ca. 1.15 V and the optimum current density is ca. 4 kA/m2. The electrode separation is 2 to 5 mm, Electrolysis in membrane cells consumes significantly less electrical energy than mercury cells. Evaluation of Mercury, Diaphragm and Membrane Processes Amalgam Process:

Advantages: pure 50% sodium evaporation) pure chlorine gas




Disadvantages: higher voltage than with the diaphragm process and hence 10 to 15% higher electrical energy consumption

1.7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds

high costs for brine purification high cost of mercury contamination avoidance measitres Diaphragm Process:

Advantages: utilization of less pure brines lower voltage than i n the mercury process Disadvantages: sodium hydroxide produced is both dilute and chloridecontaminated, evaporation required chlorine gas contains oxygen high cost of asbestos emission avoidance The economics of the two processes are comparable. Membrane Process:

Advantages: pure sodium hydroxide lower consumption of electrical energy than for the mercury process no utilization of mercury or asbestos Disadvantages: sodium hydroxide content only ca. 35% by weight chlorine gas contains oxygen very high purity brine required high cost and limited lifetime of membranes The ca. 10% saving in electrical energy over the mercury and diaphragm processes makes this process the most economical one for chlorine manufacture for investment in new plant. Applications of Chlorine and Sodium Hydroxide Chlorine Worldwide, chlorine is mainly utilized in the manufacture of PVC, for pulp and paper bleaching, water treatment and

Economics of the mercury and diaphragm processes are similar



I Primary Inorganic Materials

More than 80% of chlorine is utilized for the manufacture of organic products

the production of different organic chemicals, in particular propene oxide. However, chlorine utilization in pulp and paper bleaching and the manufacture of chlorohydrocarbons is on the decline. A significant increase is expected in chlorine utilization in the manufacture of PVC and phosgenes for isocyanate manufacture. Table 1.7-17. Quantities of Chlorine Consumed Worldwide for Different Applications i n

loh t.


2000 (expected)




C I .C?-chlorination

2. I

I .6

pulp bleaching



propene oxide


I .7

water treatment



phosgene for isocyanates

2. I





alkyl chlorides



Ti02 by chloride process



In the Federal Republic of Germany with its highly developed chemical industry, but relatively low PVCproduction and virtually no pulp manufacture, utilization of chlorine in the manufacture of organic chemicals dominates. However, most of the end-products do not contain chlorine. Sodium Hydroxide Sodium hydroxide is utilized in a multiplicity of chemical processes, mainly for neutralization and as an alkaline reaction medium. In addition it is used in large quantities in the pulp and paper industries and in the manufacture of aluminum. The utilization spectrum for the 29.0 . loh t of sodium hydroxide consumed worldwide in 1998 is given in Table 1.7-18.


I . 7 Halogeas and Halogen Cornpounds

Table 1.7-18. Utilimtion Spectrum for Sodium Hydroxide Worldwide in 1998 in loh t/a. organic chemicals


inorganic chemicals


pulp and paper aluminum (hauxite) textiles

6.5 3.5 23

detergents and cleaning agents


References for Chapter 1.7.2: Chloralkali-Electrolysis Commercial Information: Chemie Report des VCI, 12/96, I 4. Europa-Chemie 2/97, 8. Eur. Chem. News 24 30, March 1997,40. -


5. Ed., Vol. A 6, 399 - 48 I , VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 5. Ed., Vol. A 24, 3 17 339 (Sodium Chloride), 345-3.54 (SodiumHydroxide), VCH Verlagsgesell \chaft, Weinheim. Bergner, D. 1997. 20 Juhrc, Enrwicklung einrr hipoloren Memhmn:elle,fur die, A/kulic~/~lorid-Elrc~rro/ iwm Labor ;14r weltwrircw A ~ ~ ~ . e n d u r Chcm. z , g , Ing. Tech. 69,438 - 445. Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1991. 4. Ed., Vol. I , 738 1025, John Wiley &Sons, New York. Minz, F. R. 1978. Modrrne V(,@ihren der Grc$chemiet Chlor und Natronlauge, Chemie in unserer Zeit 12, 135- 141. Purcell, R. W. 1977. The Chlor-Alkuli /ndu.sfry and Campell, A. Chlorinr und Chlorinution, in: The Modern Inorganic Chemicals Industry, ed. Thompson, R. The Chemical Society, Burlington House, London, 106- 133 and 134-148. Winnacker-Kuchler. Chemische Technologie. 1982. 4. Ed., Vol. 2, 379 - 480, Anorganische Technologie I. Carl Hanser Verlag, Munchen. -

Technical Information: Varjian, R. D. I98 I . Energy Analysis ofthe Diclphragnl Chlor-Alkali Cell. Lectures in Electrochemical Engineering, AIChE Symposium Series, 219 - 226. Thomas, V. H., Penny, R. D. 1981. Review of Mercury cathode Chlorine Technology. Lectures in Electrochemical Engineering, AIChE Symposium Series, 227 233. Simmrock, K . H. et al. 198 I . Einsarz perfluorierrer Kurionenausrciuscher-Memhrunetz in Elecrro1y.s e ve rfuhren, inshesonde re hei de r Clzlornlkali-Electroly.~e,Chem. Ing. Tech. 53, 10 -25. Bergner, D. 1982, Alkulichlorid-E/ nach dem Mrinhranvrrfahren, Chem. Ing. Tech. 54, 562 570. Stinson, S. C. 1982. Elecrrolytic Cell Membrane Devrlopmenr Surges, Chem. Eng. News, 22 - 25. -


Reviews: Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1986.



1 Prirnau?, Inorganic Muterials


1.7.3 Hydrochloric Acid - Hydrogen Chloride Manufacture of Hydrogen Chloride HCI: fi-om H1

+ C12 (high purity

Hydrogen chloride is produced: possible)

by the reaction of hydrogen with chlorine H,

+ C1, +

2 HCI (+ 184 kJ)

This process is strongly exothermic (flame temperature > 2000°C) and is especially used when particularly pure hydrogen chloride (hydrochloric acid) is required e.g. in the food sector. It places considerable demands on the construction materials of the plant, particularly that of the burner for which quartz or graphite is preferred. The synthesis furnace and the adjacent cooler can be constructed of steel when dry chlorine and dry hydrogen are used. HCI: from NaCl

+ H2S04 (of little importance)

as a byproduct in the reaction of sodium chloride with sulfuric acid to sodium sulfate:

NaCl + H,SO, NaHSO, + NaCl

--+ --+


2 NaCl + H2S04 _ j Na,S04

+ 2 HCl

The quantities produced are however insignificant (< 2%). HCI byproduct

mainly as a byproduct in: in

organic chemistry (ca 90%)

chlorination, halogen exchange reactions e.g. in organic chemistry. Typical examples are: - manufacture of aliphatic and aromatic chlorohy drocarbons - manufacture of isocyanates by reacting amines with phosgene - manufacture of pyrogenic silica’s by flame hydrolysis of chlorosilanes

I .7 Halogens und Hulogen Compounds Economic Importance of Hydrogen Chloride and Hydrochloric Acid Table 1.7-19. Hydrochloric Acid and Hydrogen Chloride Production between 1987 and 1993 as HCI in lo3 t. USA



Great Britain



























Hydrochloric acid production (as HCI) i n 1993: USA 3392 . 10’ t FRG 8 2 0 . 10’ t


Hydrochloric acid is utilized in numerous applications, for example in: metal cleaning pickling of metals manufacture of metal chlorides neutralization in inorganic and organic chemistry hydrolysis of proteins and carbohydrates manufacture of chlorine dioxide for water treatment acid treatment of oil wells Since the amount of hydrogen chloride produced as a byproduct often exceeds demand, part of it has to be converted into chlorine. This i s especially necessary where it is a byproduct at sites at which there is no further use for it. This is carried out both by electrolysis (see Section and by a modified Deacon process (Section

Excess HCI is electrolytically converted intoHl+C1? Electrolysis of Hydrochloric Acid The decomposition voltage for the electrolysis of hydrochloric acid is ca. 2 V. e-




The electrolysis cell used is similar in construction to the membrane cell, with PVC-cloth acting as the diaphragm. The bipolar electrodes are graphite. Small quantities of platinum group compounds may be added to the cathode to

Hydrochloric acid electroly\is: 23q hydrochlol.ic acid i \ depleted on gi-aphite eiectrodcs forming H? + Clz to ca. 2 0 8 . Anode and cathode chambers itre separated with a PVC-cloth diaphragm



I Primary Inorganic Materials

reduce the overvoltage. Fig. 1.7-12 shows a schema of hydrochloric acid electrolysis.

depleted * brine


strong acid

Fig. 1.7-12. Schema of hydrochloric acid electrolysis

Capacity of industrial plants:

up to ca. 70 . 10i t/a chlorine Total production: 3 5 0 . 103 t/a chlorine

Ca. 23% by weight hydrochloric acid is fed into both the cathode and anode chambers, part of the electrolyte diffusing from the anode chamber to the cathode chamber. The depleted acid leaving the chambers has a concentration of 17 to 20%. Hydrogen chloride from the production of organic chemicals (see above) is adiabatically absorbed in the depleted acid, the resulting heat being used to evaporate part of the water together with steam-distillable organic impurities in the hydrogen chloride. The purity of the hydrochloric acid used is important and post-purification with activated charcoal can be necessary. The electrode gap is ca. 6 mm. The yield is 97 to 98% at a current density of 4000 A/m2. Industrial plants produce ca. 70 10' t/a of chlorine. In the dual interests of waste disposal and manufacturing economics, this process is currently used to manufacture ca. 350 1 O3 t/a chlorine. Non-Electrolytic Processes for the Manufacture of Chlorine from Hydrogen Chloride The non-electrolytic processes for the manufacture of chlorine from hydrogen chloride (Deacon, air oxidation of hydrogen chloride; Weldon, manganese dioxide oxidation of hydrogen chloride) which marked the beginning of industrial chlorine chemistry, are currently of only minor importance.

1.7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds

However, DuPont in Corpus Christi (USA) brought a modified Deacon process on stream in 1975, the Kellog Kel-ChlorO process, in which the hydrogen chloride produced as a byproduct in the manufacture if fluorohydrocarbons is oxidized. Fig. 1.7.13 shows a schema of this process.


oxidation reactor


rj vacuum


Fig. 1.7-13. Schema of the Kel-ChlorO process.

References for Chapter 1.7.3: Hydrochloric Acid - Hydrogen Chloride Commercial Information: Chemical Economics Handbook. 1994. Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California, USA. Reviews: Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1989. S. Ed., Vol. A 13,283 - 296, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim.

Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1995. 4. Ed., Vol. 13. 894 924. John Wiley & Sons, New York. ~




Primary Inorganic Materials

1.7.4 Chlorine-Oxygen Compounds Economic Importance Sodium hypochlorite production in 1994: USA: Western Europe: Japan:

276 . 103 t/a 386 . 10' t/a 141 . 1 0 3 t/a

Calcium hypochloritc: consumption in the USA in 1994: 40 . t/a (in chlorine equivalents)


Sodium hypochlorite: Production of sodium hypochlorite in 1994 was 276 . 10' t/a in the USA, 386 . lo3 t/a in Western Europe and 141 . 10' t/a in Japan. Calcium hypochlorite: Production and consumption of calcium hypochlorite in the most important regions in 1994 are given in Table 1.7-20. The chlorine equivalents are the quantities of chlorine which correspond to the oxidation capacity of the quantities of hypochlorite. Table 1.7-20. Production and Consumption of Calcium Hypochlorite in 10' I chlorine equivalents.

Sodium chlorite production in USA, Japan, France and F.R. Germany Current production and demand in USA: 10. loi t/a










Western Europe










Sodiiini chlorite: The 1980 capacity of PCUK in France was SO . 103 t/a. There are other producers in the USA, Japan, France and in the Federal Republic of Germany. Current production and demand in the USA are ca. 1 0 . 16 tla. Sodium and Potassium Chlorrites:

Sodium chlorate: World capacity: > 2 . 106 t/a

Table 1.7-21. Sodium Chlorate Couacitiea in 19'93 i n 103t Western Europe USA Japan

Arnmonium perchlorate: most important perchlorate capacity in the USA: 30 . 10' t/a

629 1619


The capacity in the USA is still expanding strongly, the annual growth in the period 1987 to 1993 having been greater than 10%. Perchlomtrs and perchloric acid: The consumption of perchloric acid (70%) is very small, being estimated to be 4.50 t/a in the USA. The most important perchlorate is

1.7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds

ammonium perchlorate, with a capacity in the USA of ca. 30. 10’ t. Chlorine dioxide: Table I .7-22 gives information about the growth of chlorine dioxide consumption in the USA. Table 1.7-22. Chlorine Dioxide Consumption in the USA in 103t. 1983










I W X Chlorine dioxide consumption in USA: ca. 760 . 1 0 3 t/a

*estimated Manufacture of Chlorine-Oxygen Compounds Hypochlorite Hypochlorite Solutions: Solutions of sodium and calcium hypochlorite as mixtures with sodium and calcium chloride can be easily obtained by reacting aqueous sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide slurries with chlorine: 2NaOH Ca(OH),

+ +

C1, C1,

--+ NaOCl +NaCl + Ca(OCl)Cl+H,O


bases and cl,lorine


The solutions (“bleaching solutions”) contain about equimolar quantities of chloride and hypochlorite ions. Sodium hypochlorite solutions contain 12 to 15% and calcium hypochlorite 3 to 3.8% of available chlorine. Available chlorine is the quantity of chlorine produced by adding hydrochloric acid, relative to the weight of the product: NaOCl


+ 2 HCl +NaCl + CI, + H 2 0

The reaction of sodium hydroxide with chlorine is strongly exothermic (AH = 103 kJ/mol). Production can be carried out discontinuously and is monitored by redox potential measurements. Since hypochlorite is easily converted to chiorate at high temperatures, the reaction temperature must be kept below 40°C, for which coolers constructed of titanium are used. The chlorination is generally carried out in such as way that a slight excess of alkali is retained so as to increase the stability of the

Contents given as “availahle chlorine”



I Primary Inorganic Materials

Small scale consumers produce hypochlorite solutions directly by electrolysis of sodium chloride solutions in a diaphragmless cell

solution. The same holds for the manufacture of calcium hypochlorite solutions. Bleaching solutions are generally used in situ, because they are easily decomposed by light or traces of heavy metals. The above-described manufacture assumes the availability of chlorine. Direct electrolytic manufacture of hypochlorite solutions is appropriate for special applications (cooling of power stations with seawater, effluent treatment etc.), when chlorine is unavailable. Seawater or brine is electrolyzed in diaphragmless cells. Activated titanium anodes and titanium cathodes are used. The yield based on current consumed is relatively poor, 40 to 60%, due to the hydrogen produced reducing part of the hypochlorite formed. The electrolysis cells are technically uncomplicated and small. The hypochlorite solutions obtained contain several grams of hypochlorite per L.

Solid Hypochlorite: Bleaching powder: formerly only transportable form of chlorine, strongly declined in importance

Calcium hypochlorite: high percentage bleaching powder. Produced e.g. by chlorination of calcium hydroxide suspensions and separation of the calcium hypochlorite formed as its dihydrate.

Bleaching powder (chloride of lime) was first used industrially at the beginning of the nineteenth century and for over a century was the only transportable form of chlorine, since chlorine could be made available by acidification with hydrochloric acid. It contains ca. 36% of available chlorine. Since transportation of liquid chlorine became technically feasible at the beginning of the twentieth century, the manufacture of bleaching powder has steadily declined in importance. It is manufactured by reacting moist calcium hydroxide with chlorine, this reaction being fairly slow. Calcium hypochlorite: There are a number of processes for the manufacture of calcium hypochlorite (“high percentage bleaching powder”). The oldest is the Griesheim Elektron process (“Perchloron process”) in which a calcium hydroxide suspension is chlorinated to such an extent that the calcium chloride formed mostly dissolves, but not the calcium hypochlorite.

2 Ca(OH),

+ 2 C12--+

Ca(OCI), . 2 H 2 0 + CaC1,

The calcium hypochlorite, which precipitates as the dihydrate, is filtered off and dried.

I . 7 Hulogens und Hulogen Cornpound.v


In the Olin process, a calcium hydroxide suspension in a sodium hypochlorite solution is chlorinated and a triplesalt precipitates out upon cooling to - 15°C: Ca(OH),

+ 2 NaOCl + C12 + 1 1 H 2 0+

Ca(OCl), . NaOCl ‘ NaCl . 12 H 2 0

This triple-salt reacts with a bleaching powder suspension to form calcium hypochlorite dihydrate which is filtered off and dried. Ca(OCl), . NaOCl . NaCl . 12 H 2 0 + Ca(OC1)Cl + 2 Ca(OCI), . 2H20 + 2 NaCl + 10 H,O The sodium chloride byproduct can be utilized in chloralkal i electrolysis. Other manufacturing processes, such as the ICI, Thann and Pennwalt processes, are variants of this process. In the PPG-process, chlorine is reacted in a carbon dioxide stream with sodium carbonate to dichlorine monoxide and hypochlorous acid, which is dissolved in water. Reaction with a calcium hydroxide slurry yields calcium hypochlorite: Ca(OH),

+ 2 HOCl -+


+ 2 H20

The content of available chlorine in technical calcium hypochlorite is 70 to 74%. It reacts vigorously with oxidizing agents and decomposes exothermically upon ignition. Solid sodium hypochlorite is not commercially available, because it is too chemically unstable. “Chlorinated trisodium phosphate”, [Na3P04 . 1 1 H20I4 . NaOCl, on the other hand, is industrially important in the cleaning agent sector. This has an available chlorine content of 3.65%. It is obtained by reacting a sodium phosphate solution with a sodium hypochlorite solution in the appropriate molar concentrations at 75 to 80°C. In the USA small quantities of lithium hypochlorite are also manufactured (1 .5 . 1 O3 t in 1994).

“Chbrinated t r i w d i u l ~Pho\Phate”, [NalPOJ . 1 1 H?0l4 . NaOCl produced from trisodium and hypochlorite


I Primury Inorganic Materials Chlorites Sodium chlorite: from chlorine dioxide, sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide as a reducing agent

Only sodium chlorite is industrially significant. It is manufactured by reacting chlorine dioxide (Section with sodium hydroxide and a reducing agent, usually hydrogen peroxide (other reducing agents have technical disadvantages):

2 C10,

+ 2 NaOH + H 2 0 2--+ 2 NaCIO, + 2 H 2 0 + 02

An excess of hydrogen peroxide is necessary, since part of it decomposes i n the alkaline solution. Due to its easily initiated self-decomposition, solid sodium chlorite is either supplied as its monohydrate or as mixtures with sodium chloride or sodium nitrate. Chlorates Potassium chloratc: from sodium chlorate by metathesis

Sodium and potassium chlorate are used industrially. The latter is produced from sodium chlorate by metathesis with potassium chloride: NaC10,

Sodium chlorate: from sodium chloride by electrolysis in diaphragmless cells with anodes of activated titanium and steel cathodes. The electrochemical reaction follows a slow chemical reaction

+ KCI --+ KCIO, + NaCl

The formerly operated purely chemical process for the manufacture of sodium chlorate i s no longer industrially significant. Sodium chlorate is industrially manufactured electrochemically from brine in diaphragmless cells: NaCl

+ 3 H,O --+ NaClO, + 3 H2

Steel cathodes are used and anodes of platinum or titanium activated with a mixed oxide of ruthenium oxide and titanium dioxide are used as anodes, supplanting the graphite anodes previously employed. The e\ec+m& separation is ca. 3 to 5 mm. Electrolysis is carried out at ca. 80°C, at a voltage of 3.0 to 3.5 and at an energy consumption of 4.95 to 6.05 MWh/t sodium chlorate (at an electricity price of 3.5 USc/kWh electricity costs account for half the manufacturing costs). Since the hydrogen formed at the cathode is contaminated with small quantities of chlorine it has to be appropriately treated, e.g. by scrubbing. Chlorate cells are supplied by a large number of manufacturers.

1.7 Halogens und Halogen Compounds

The chemical and electrochemical processes occurring in the cells are very complex. The current understanding is that the following sequence of reactions takes place: chlorine produced at the anode reacts with water to hypochlorous acid which reacts with hydroxide ions produced at the cathode to form hypochlorite ions:

C12 OH-

+ +

HZO-HOCl C12 +OC1-

+ HCI + 2 HCI

hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ions react to form chlorate ions:

2 HOCl + C10-+


+ 2 HCI

Since this reaction is relatively slow, the circuit cycling electrolyte through the cell has a Inrgc dead

volume to allow for the completion of the reaction. The most important side-reaction is the electrochemical oxidation of hypochlorite ions to chlorate ions at the anode, which can be approximately represented by: -6



---+ 2 C l O j f


As a result of the simultaneous production of oxygen, the utilization efficiency of electrical energy is a third less than with the pure chemical formation of sodium chlorate. The process parameters are therefore selected so as to suppress the electrochemical oxidation of hypochlorite e.g. the concentrations, the temperature (60 to 75"C), the process pH (6.9), the flow conditions and the residence time in the electrolysis cell. Modern plants utilize electricity energy with an efficiency of > 93%. Another important side-reaction is the reduction of hypochlorite ions at the cathode:

+ 2 e-

CIO-+ H20 4C1- + 2 OHThis is, to a large extent, suppressed by the addition of ca. 3g of chromate per L of electrolyte. This coats the cathode



I Primary Inorganic Materials

with a layer of hydrated chromium oxide, which strongly hinders the diffusion of hypochlorite ions to the cathode. The sodium chlorate is obtained from the solutions produced during electrolysis, containing 600 g/L of sodium chlorate and 100 g/L of sodium chloride, as crystals by evaporation, the sodium chloride precipitating out first. Technical grade sodium chlorate is 99.5% pure. It decomposes above 265°C forming sodium perchlorate. To an increasing extent, sodium chlorate is being supplied in solution, in some cases without separating off the sodium chloride, to save energy. In the so-called “Munich process” for the manufacture of chlorine dioxide (see Section I ., the chloratecontaining electrolyte is directly reacted with hydrochloric acid. Perchlorates and Perchloric Acid Sodium perchlorate: manufactured by electrochemical oxidation from sodium chlorate in diaphragmleas cells with anodes of lead dioxide or platinum Potassium and ammonium perchlorate: from sodium perchlorate by metathesis

Perchloric acid: by electrochemical oxidation of chlorine dissolved in perchloric acid

The industrially most important perchlorates are sodium, potassium and ammonium perchlorates. Potassium and ammonium perchlorate are manufactured by metathesis from sodium perchlorate, which itself is manufactured electrochemically from sodium chlorate: NaCIO,

+ H,O +NaCIO, + H2

Oxygen is formed as a byproduct at the anodes. The diaphragmless cells utilized in this process and the cathodes are constructed of steel and the anodes of platinum or plead dioxide on graphite. The voltage used is 4.75 V (with a lead dioxide anode) or 6 V (with a platinum anode). The energy consumption is 2.5 to 3 kWh/kg sodium perchlorate. When platinum anodes are used chromate can be added to suppress the cathodic reduction. A small amount of platinum dissolves in the electrolyte, particularly at high temperatures and sodium chlorate contents below 100 g L . With lead dioxide anodes addition of sodium fluoride brings about an improvement in electrical energy utilization. The sodium perchlorate formed is worked up by crystallization. Perchloric acid is manufactured by the Merck process through electrolysis of chlorine dissolved in cold (ca. 0°C) perchloric acid:

1.7 Hulogens atid Hulogen C o m p u t d s



+ 8 HzO + 2 He104 + 7 H,

Diaphragm cells (with plastic cloth diaphragms) are used with platinum anodes and silver cathodes. A silver cooler is utilized to remove the heat of reaction. The cell voltage is 4.4 V, the yield based on electricity supplied is 60%. Part of the electrolyte is continuously taken off and concentrated to ca. 70% perchloric acid. Chlorine Dioxide Of the chlorine oxides only chlorine dioxide has achieved industrial significance. It is a gas at room temperature. As a result of its explosive properties, it can only utilized in situ and even then has to be diluted with inert gases (nitrogen, carbon dioxide) to 10 to 15% (by volume). When large quantities are required, it is manufactured from sodium chlorate, for smaller quantities from sodium chlorite. Sodium chlorate is reacted with hydrochloric acid: NaC103 + 2 HCl +CIO,

+ 0.5 C1, + NaCl + H,O

The most important side-reaction formation of chlorine: NaC103 + 6 HCl+

3 C12 + NaCl

is the augmented

+ 3 H,O

Sulfuric acid and sodium chloride can be used instead of hydrochloric acid. With the simultaneous addition of sulfur dioxide chlorine is reduced to chloride, so that the otherwise necessary separation of chlorine from chlorine dioxide, by e.g. stripping with water, is unnecessary (chlorine dioxide is much more soluble in water than chlorine). In modern plants, 90% of the theoretical yield of chlorine dioxide is obtained. A number of industrial processes follow the abovedescribed reaction scheme. In the USA and Canada, the ER-process from Erco and the SVP-process from Hooker Chemical Corp. are mainly used. Sodium sulfate disposal problems arise when these processes are operated with sulfuric acid or sulfur dioxide.

Manufixture of large quantities of chlorine dioxide: by reaction of sodium chlorate with hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, separation or reduction of the simultaneously formed chlorine The gaseous, explosive chlorine dioxide has to he immediately diluted with inert gases


I Primary Inorganic Materials

Manufacture of small quantities of chlorine dioxide: reaction of sodium chlorite with chlorine

These problems do not arise in the Kesting (Munich) process in which the solution produced by the electrolytic manufacture of sodium chlorate is immediately reacted with hydrochloric acid and the chlorinedioxide-chlorine mixture formed blown off from the solution into a column. After separation the chlorine is reacted with hydrogen from the electrolysis to hydrogen chloride, which is fed back into the process. The only starting material in this process is thus chlorine, which is present in the chlorine dioxide obtained and in the hydrochloric acid which is fed back into the process. Sodium chlorite as starting material: Small quantities of chlorine dioxide are produced by reacting sodium chlorite with chlorine:

2 NaClO,

Applications of hypochloritea: - for bleaching, - disinfection, - destruction of poison gases and - hydrazine manufacture

sodium chlorite: small scale manufacture of chlorine dioxide sodium chlorate: - manufacture of chlorine dioxide and perchlorates, - in uranium extraction, - as a herbicide potassium chlorate: - e.g. for matches


ammonium perchlorate: - oxidizing agent in rocket fuel chlorine dioxide: - pulp bleaching - water treatment

+ C1,


2 NaCl

+ 2 CIO, Applications of Chlorine-Oxygen Compounds Hypochlorites: Sodium hypochlorite (bleaching solution) is utilized for the bleaching and decolorization of pulp and textiles, for disinfection, e.g. in swimming baths, and for the manufacture of hydrazine (Section 1.4.2). Calcium hypochlorite and bleach are used for disinfection e.g. in swimming baths, in the treatment of cooling water and to render harmless warfare agents of the

“2,2’-dichloroethylsulfide-type”. “Chlorinated trisodium phosphate” is a component of household and industrial cleaning agents, particularly in the USA. Sodium chlorite is utilized primarily for the small scale manufacture of chlorine dioxide. Chlorute: More than 80% of the sodium chlorate produced is converted into chlorine dioxide for pulp bleaching. In addition it is utilized for the manufacture of perchlorates (in the USA ca. 20 . 10’ t/a), for the oxidation of U4+ and U6+in the extraction of uranium (16 to 19 lo3 t in the USA in 1979) and as a herbicide. Potassium chlorate is utilized in the manufacture of matches (9 to 10 lo3 t in the USA in 1979) and fireworks. Perchlorates are mainly used in fireworks and, especially ammonium perchlorate, as an oxidation agent in rocket fuel. Chlorine dioxide is to an increasing extent replacing elemental chlorine as a bleaching agent for wood pulp,

1.7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds

because significantly less chlorinated hydrocarbons are formed. Chlorine dioxide manufactured from sodium chlorate is readily available and is an economical alternative to chlorine. This change-over in bleaching process started in the paper industry in the 1980’s and by 1994 accounted for 50% of the bleaching in the North America. Chlorine dioxide is also utilized in the provision of potable water.

References for Chapter 1.7.4: Chlorine-Oxygen Compounds Commercial Information: Chemical Economics Handbook. 1995,732. Stanford Research Institute, 1000-1002, Menlo Park, California, USA. Reviews: Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1993. 4. Ed., Vol. 5 , 932 1016, John Wiley &Sons, New York. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1986. 5. Ed., Vol. A 6,483 - 525, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. ~

Chemical Economics Handbook. 3/199S. Chlorutes, 732, Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California, USA.

Technical Information: Bleichen mir Narriunzhypochlorir. 182. Reiniger + Wascher, XXXV, Heft 5 , 30- 33. Calcium hypoeldorite. Chem. Eng. News, 27.4. I98 I , 28-29. Wintzer, P. 1980. Enricklung und Trend der ChlordioxidBleiche niit inregrierter Chlorat-Electrolyse,fur die Zellstojf-lndustrie (Developments and trends in chlorine dioxide-bleaching with an integrated chlorate electrolysis for the wood pulp industry) , Chem. Ing. 52. Tech. 392-398.

1.7.5 Bromine and Bromine Compounds Natural Deposits and Economic Importance Bromine occurs in nature mainly as soluble bromides. The concentration of bromine in the Earth’s crust is 1.6 . 1 0-4 %. It is contained in: seawater: theDeadSea: natural brines: salt deposits:

0.065 g/L 4g/L 3 to 4 g/L 0.005 to 0.45% (by weight)

The most important deposits are in Arkansas (USA) and the Dead Sea (Israel/Jordan). The waste solutions from the potash industry contain up to 6 g/L of bromide. The world reserves of bromine are virtually unlimited. The bromine content of the Dead Sea alone is estimated to be lo9 t.

Bromine, as bromide ions, occur in: seawater natural brines salt deposits

Bromine reserves virtually unlirnited



I Primary Inorganic Muterials

Worldwide production in 1993:

371 . 103 t/a

The worldwide capacity for bromine in 1993 was > 540. 10' t/a. Three companies dominate the production and marketing of bromine and bromine compounds: Ethyl Corp. and Great Lakes Chemical in the USA and Dead Sea Bromine in Israel. The worldwide production of bromine attained a peak in 1979 and 1989 of greater than 400 . 10' t, but has declined since 1990 and was 371 . 103 t in 1993. The bromine production figures for the most important countries in 1993 are given in Table 1.7-23: Table 1.7-23. Bi-online Production in I993 in I O3 t USA




Great Britain Former States of USSR




Other countries



The demand for bromine-containing chemicals for different sectors has strongly shifted in recent years, partly due to environmental considerations. This is demonstrated by the evolution in the application spectrum for bromine consumption in the USA in the period 1980 to 1993 shown in Table 1.7-24. Table 1.7-24. Application spectrum in the USA i n the period 1980 to 1993 in 103 [/a. Flaine Pesticides Fuel Drilling Other retardant5

























40 Manufacture of Bromine and Bromine Compounds Elemental bromine: atartlng material for inorganic and organic bromine-compounds

Almost all bromine compounds are manufactured either directly or indirectly from elemental bromine. Its production is therefore of key importance. Bromine Bromine is manufactured from:

I . 7 Halogeris and Hulogen Compound.r


bromide-enriched starting materials (brines) seawater In both cases bromide ions are oxidized with elemental chlorine:

2 B r + C12+

2 C1-

Bromine manufacture: from bromides by oxidation with chlorine

+ Br,

and the bromine formed taken off as a gas.

Manufacture of Bromine from Bromide-Enriched Starting Materials - Brines, Waste Solutions from the Potash Industry (“Hot Debromination”) Bromide-containing brines are heated to ca. 90°C and reacted with chlorine. The elemental bromine is driven out with steam. Ca. 0.5 kg of chlorine and I 1 kg of steam are utilized for each kg of bromine. The mixture of bromine gas and steam is condensed and separated in a separating vessel, the bromine being purified by multistage distillation. The plants are designed to ensure the recycling of bromine- of chlorine-containing aqueous solutions and bromine- and chlorine-containing gases into the reaction tower. The debrominated salt-containing effluent is neutralized before further use. Its heat content is transferred in countercurrent to the incoming brominecontaining brines. More than 95% of the bromine in the starting solution is extracted. Due to the high corrosivity of moist bromine, materials such as glass, tantalum, ceramics and poly(tetrafluor0ethene) have to be utilized in the plants. Most of the bromine produced is extracted by this “hot debromination” process.


from brines:

bromine i s driven out w i t h (“hot debromination”. the indusirialiy more important process)

Manufacture of Bromine from Seawater (“Cold Debromination”) Before extracting bromine from seawater, the alkaline seawater has to be acidified because bromine disproportionates in alkaline media: 3 Br,

+ 6 OH----+

5 B r + Br0,-

to bromide and bromate.

+ 3 H20

~~~~~~i~~~ extl-action


by acidificationand then reaction with chlorine, the bromine formed being driven out with air (“cold debromination”), absorbed in a sodium carbonale solution and finally libcrated by acidification


I Prinzary Inorganic Materials

The seawater is acidified with sulfuric acid to a pH of 3.5, 130 g of 100% sulfuric acid being necessary per t of seawater. The slight excess of chlorine necessary to oxidize the bromide is fed in at the same time as the sulfuric acid. The bromine formed is expelled by air in so-called “blowout” towers. The bromine (and possibly chlorine or bromine chloride)-containing air is fed into absorption towers in which it is brought into contact with a sodium carbonate solution, whereupon the bromine is disproportionated into bromide and bromate according to the above equation. The bromine in the absorption solution is then converted into elemental bromine with sulfuric acid and expelled with steam:

5 NaBr + NaBrO,

+ 3 H2SO4 ---+3 Br2 + 3 Na2S04i3 H20

This process is operated in plants in Great Britain and Japan. Preconditions for its economic operation are .high seawater temperatures and the possibility of disposing of the debrominated solutions so that they do not mix with the to be processed water entering the plant. Hydrogen Bromide Hydrogen bromide: by reacting hydrogen with bromine as a byproduct from the bromination of organic compounds

Hydrogen bromide is manufactured by the combustion of bromine and hydrogen:


+ Br2+

2 HBr

AH = -103 kJ

Bromine-free hydrogen bromide can be obtained either by passing the reacted gases over hot activated charcoal or by using an excess of hydrogen. Hydrogen bromide is a byproduct in the bromination of organic compounds:







Hydrogen bromide dissolves in water forming hydrobromic acid. At 25°C and atmospheric pressure 193 g . of hydrogen bromide dissolve in l00g of water.

I . 7 Hulogens and Halogen Compounds

179 Alkali Bromides, Calcium Bromide, Zinc Bromide Bromides are produced by reacting the corresponding hydroxide, carbonate etc. with hydrobromic acid: NaOH + HBr --+ NaBr

+ H,O

Alkali-, alkaline and zinc bromides: from hydroxides or carbonates and hydrobromic acid

Ammonium bromides is manufactured directly from bromine, whereby ammonia acts as a reducing agent: 8NH3+3Br,--+6NH4Br+Nz Alkali Bromates Alkali bromates are mainly manufactured by the electrochemical oxidation of bromide in a process similar to that for the manufacture of sodium chlorate (see Section NaBr + 3 H,O

Bromates: mainly by the electrochemica] oxidation of bromides

-+ NaBrO, + 3 H2

Alternatively they can be manufactured by passing bromine into alkali hydroxide solutions, whereupon disproportionation takes place with the formation of a mixture of bromide and bromate (see Section I ., from which the more poorly soluble bromate is separated. Applications for Bromine and Bromine Compounds Typical examples of the utilization of bromine in organic chemical manufacture are: fuel additives, in particular 1,2-dibromomethane, are utilized in leaded petrol as “lead substitutes” (formation of lead bromide). There was formerly a considerable demand for such products e.g. more than 100 t/a (based on bromine) in the USA in the 1970’s, but since the introduction of lead-free petrol this application has become insignificant. jlume retardunts, in particular brominated diphenyl ethers, currently account for the largest number of brominechemicals. In the context of possible formation of bromo-

Bromine utilized in organic chemistry for the manufacture of

fuel additives flame retardants pesticides tear gases inhalation anesthetics dyes


1 Primary Inorganic Materials

Hydrogen bromide: for manufacture of bromides

Sodium, povassium bromide: for silver bromide manufacture for use in photography Lithium bromide: as a drying agent in air conditioning units Calcium bromide: in crude oil extraction as a packing fluid

Zinc bromide: as a packing fluid

dioxins or furans, extensive investigations under realistic fire conditions are presently being carried out under the auspices of the WHO. Although no significant environmental danger has been established, further studies have been recommended to corroborate the results. pesticides of which bromomethane is the most important. The production of bromomethane has been frozen under the Montreal Protocol, due to its ozone-destroying potential. The production in the USA will not, however, be reduced before the year 2000, due to the lack of alternatives. ,fire ex.xtinguishing agents: The non-corrosive bromofluoromethane (Halon I30 1) and bromochlorodifluoromethane (Halon 121 1 ) may n o longer be produced under the Montreal Protocol, due to their ozone layer-destroying potential. tear gases such as bromoacetophenone and bromoacetone. inhalation anesthetics such as 2-bromo-2-chloro-l,1,1trifluoro-ethane. dyes such as bromo-anthraquinones and dibromoindigo are further examples of bromine - containing organic compounds. Hydrogen bromide is mainly used for the manufacture of bromides. Sodium and potassium bromide are mainly utilized in the manufacture of silver bromide for photosensitive layers. Utilization as a sedative has declined. Lithium bromide is employed as a drying agent fir air e.g. in air conditioning units. Calcium bromide, currently quantitywise the most important inorganic bromide, is utilized in crude oil extraction as a so-called “packing fluid” or “drilling fluid’. Packing fluids surround the archimedian screw and equalize the pressure. Depending upon the pressure ratio solutions of sodium chloride, of mixtures of sodium chloride with sodium carbonate or calcium chloride, of calcium chloride, of mixtures of calcium chloride and calcium bromide or of mixtures of calcium bromide and zinc bromide (see below) are utilized. Solutions with 53% by weight of calcium bromides are used, which have a density of ca. 1.7 g/mL. Up to IS0 m3 of packing fluids per oil well can be used. Zinc bromide is used as a packing tluid in solutions with 55% of zinc bromide and 20% of calcium bromide, which

1.7 Hulogens and Halogen Compounds

have a density of ca. 1.9 g/mL, for extreme pressure ratios. Such mixtures are, however, very corrosive. Alkali broinates are sensitive to heat and shock. They are utilized e.g. in the treatment of flour and in hair setting lotions.

Alkali broinates: forflourtreatment

References for Chapter 1.7.5: Bromine and Bromine Compounds Reviews: Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1992. 4. Ed., Vol. 4, 536 - 589, John Wiley & Sons. New York. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1985. 5. Ed., Vol. A 4, 391-429. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. McDonald, R. B. and Merriman, W. R.. The Bromine and Broniinr-Chemicals I n h t r y , i n The Modern Inorgnnic

Chemicals Itzdustry. 1977. Ed. Thompson, R. The Chemical Society, Burlington House, London, 168182.

Commercial Information: Chemical Economics Handbook. 199.5,Brominr, 7 19. Stanford Research Inatitute, 1000-1002, Menlo Park, California, USA.

1.7.6 Iodine and Iodine Compounds Economic Importance Iodine is extracted from: brines, which often accrue in crude oil or natural gas production waste solutions from the Chilean niter industry The extraction of iodine from ashed algae or kelp is currently industrially insignificant. According to estimated figures from the US Bureau of Mines, the quantities of iodine produced in 1994 were:

Manufacture of from: brines waste solutions from Chilean niter industry

World production i n 1994:

Table 1.7-25. Estimated Iodine Production in 1994 in 10’ t/a. World










Only Japan and Chile export iodine on a large scale. The Federal Republic of Germany imported 870 t of iodine in 1979, mainly from Japan and Chile.

16 700 t

Most important producing countries: Japan, Chile, USA



I Primary Inorganic Materials

The worldwide reserves of iodine are greater than 6 . lo6 t. World reserves: >6. 1O"t

Table 1.7-26. World Rewrves o f Iodine (without Former States of USSR) in 1995 in 10' tia. ~~













300 Manufacture of Iodine and Iodine Compounds Iodine From Brines Iodine extraction from brines: oxidation of iodide with chlorine, blown out with air, absorption in hydroiodic acidhlfuric acid, reduction with sulfur dioxide to hydroiodic acid, part taken of for oxidation with chlorine to iodine

Brines contain between 30 and several hundred ppm of iodine (as iodide). The deposits in the USA are mainly in Michigan and Oklahoma. Extraction is similar to that of bromine. Brines are mixed with hydrochloric or sulfuric acid and oxidized with excess chlorine. The elemental iodine formed is blown out with air and absorbed in a sulfuric acid-hydroiodic acid-water mixture in an absorber. Reduction with sulfur dioxide converts the iodine into hydroiodic acid. Part of this is taken off and the hydroiodic acid oxidized with chlorine to iodine. The iodine is filtered off and dried and any organic impurities oxidized by melting under sulfuric acid. The following equations give the individual steps: 2 NaI


+ Clz _ _ j Iz? + 2 NaCl

+ SO2 + 2 H20

in HVH2S04 ___j

2 HI + H2S04

in HzS04

2HI+C12 Alternative process: absorption of iodine as polyiodide on anionic ion exchangers, desorption with alkali, working up to iodine



In Japan another process is used in which the iodine formed by chlorine oxidation is absorbed as polyiodide on an anionic ion exchanger. Desorption with alkali yields concentrated iodide- and iodate-containing solutions which are worked up to elemental iodine.

I . 7 Halogens and Halogen Compounds

From Waste Solutions in Niter Production The Chilean niter deposits contain up to 0.3% iodine in the form of calcium iodate. After dissolution and recrystallization of the niter, the supernatant liquor contains up to 9 g/L of sodium iodate. Iodine is liberated by reduction with sulfur dioxide (in the form of sodium bisulfite), further reduction to iodide being avoided by maintaining stoichiometry: 2 NaI03 + 5 SOz + 4 HzO +NaZSO4+ 4 HzSO,

+ 1,

The iodine is filtered off and purified by sublimation. The now iodide-free solution is then neutralized and reutilized for dissolving fresh niter. Hydrogen Iodide Hydrogen iodide is manufactured from iodine and hydrogen on a platinum catalyst at 500°C: Pt


+ 2HI 500 “C

Hydoiodic acid is also industrially produced by the reaction of hydrazine with iodine: NZH,

+ 2 Tz+

4 HI + N2

234 g of hydrogen iodide dissolve in 100 g of water at 10°C. Acids with 47% by weight of hydrogen iodide are commercially available. Alkali Iodides Alkali iodides can be manufactured via iron(I1) iodide as follows:

Iodine extraction from waste solutions

niter production: iodate w i t h reductionOf miiurn biwlfate t o iodine



I Primary Inorganic Materials

Fe + Iz+ Fel,


+ M,CO, + H,O --+ Fe(OH)2J + CO, + 2 MI

M: Na. K After the iron hydroxide formed has settled, the alkali iodides are separated by concentration and crystallization. Neutralization of hydrogen iodide with alkali hydroxides also provides alkali iodides. Alkali Iodates Alkali iodates are manufactured from the corresponding chlorates by reaction with iodine upon heating in the presence of nitric acid:

2 MC103 + 12 --+ C1,

+ 2 MI03

M: Na, K Electrochemical manufacture is also possible. Applications of Iodine and lodine Compounds Applications of iodine and iodine compounds: as feedstuff additives in particular for cattle and poultry. Ethylenediamine dihydroiodide and calcium iodate are mainly used; as catalysts for stereospecific polymerization of butadiene and isoprene; in the Monsanto process for the manufacture of acetic acid; for pharmaceutical purposes, e.g. medicines for the treatment of thyroid gland diseases; sodium iodide as an additive in table salt in iodine-deficient areas; potassium iodide as a preventative medication in the event of nuclear accidents; as a contrast agent in diagnostic medicine; radioisotopes for the recognition and treatment of tumors; as a stabilizer for polyamide 6.6; in the photographic industry (silver iodide); for dyes (Bengal Red, erythosine);

1.7 Halogens und Hulogeii Cotnpoui~ds

for disinfection, non-ionic organo-iodo complexes being used; for induction of rain fall and avoidance of hail damage (silver iodide).

References for Chapter 1.7.6: Iodine and Iodine Compounds Reviews;

Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1995. 4. Ed., Vol. 14, 709 737, John Wiley & Sons, New York. Ullrnann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1989. 5. Ed., Vol. A 14. 381-391, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, We in heim. ~

Commercial Information:

Chemical Economic\ Handbook. 1995, lodim,, 744. Stanford Research Institute, I 000- 1002, Menlo Park, California, USA.


Industrial inorganic Chemistry Karl Heinz Bbchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto & Peter Woditsch copyright0 WlLEY VCH Verldg GmbH, 2MlO

2 Mineral Fertilizers

The most important mineral fertilizers are those that contain phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. Only these will be considered in the following sections. Their manufacture is quantitywise the most important chemical production.

2.1 Phosphorus-Containing Fertilizers 2.1.1 Economic Importance General Information The worldwide consumption of phosphorus in mineral fertilizers for the period between 1980 and 1992 is as follows (Table 2.1-1): Table 2.1-1. Worldwide Consumption of Phosphorus in Mineral Fertilizers in lo6 tfa P 2 0 ~ . 1980 1984 1988 1992 3 1.20




The consumption is several Western European countries in 1992 is given in Table 2.1-2: Table 2.1-2. Consumption of Phosphorus in Mineral Fertilizers in several Western European Countries in 1992 in 10' t/a P205. France Italy F.R. Spain Great Benelux Western Germany Britain Europe 1253







The production in the Federal Republic of Germany has declined in the period 1989 to 1992, as shown in Table 2.1-3:

World consumption of mineral phosphate fertilizers in 1992: 35.42 10" 1 P2O5


2 Mirzeral Fertili7rr.y

Phosphate fertilizer production in FRG in 1992: 250 . 10’ t/a (P20s-content)

Table 2.1-3. Pho\phate Fcitililer Production in F.R. Germany in Period I989 to I992 in 1 0 3 t/a P705. I989


199 I





250 Importance of Superphosphate Superphosphate: a fertilizer declining strongly in ilnP’Jrtance (P205-c(”ltcnt o[l1y 20%)

In the industrialized countries of the World the production of superphosphate has been declining for Some time, because, with a P,Os-content of only 19 to 2070, a very high proportion of ballast has to be transported with it. In addition the biological availability of the phosphorus is lower than with other fertilizers. Superphosphate is still important in China and Eastern Europe. The world production by regions in 1994 is given in Table 2.1-4. Table 2.1-4. Superphosphate Production in 1994 in IO’t/a P?Os. World

North America

South America




Western Eastern Africa Asia Oceania Europc Europe 155


180 4925

525 Importance of Triple Superphosphate Triple superphosphate: importance unchanged (P2OS-content ca. 40%) Estimated worldwide pi-oduction in 1994: 3.24. 106 t (PIOS-content)

The production of triple superphosphate with a P205content greater than 40% and biologically more available phosphorus reached a peak in 1984 and has declined 30% since then. The worldwide capacity for triple superphosphate is considerably underutilized. Part of the spare capacity can be utilized for the manufacture of ammonium phosphate. The world production by region in 1990 is given in Table 2 . 5 5 . Table 2.1-5. Triple Superphosphate Production i n I990 in 10’ t/a P?Os. World 3236

North America





Western Eastern Africa Asia Oceania Europe Europc 231





2. I Phosphorus-ContuinilzR Fertilizers

189 Importance of Ammonium Phosphates Ammonium phosphates are mainly utjljzed as solid fertilizers, but can also be utilized in solution (for nonfertilizer applications see Section Ammonium phosphates (mono- and di-ammonium phosphates) are particularly important in the USA. Table 2.1-6 gives the world production for ammonium phosphate fertilizers by region.

Ammonium phosphate fertilixrs: strongly increasing in importance World production P205 ( 10” 1): 1980: I 5.5 1990: 19.2 1994: 18.3 1999: 21 .O (estimated)

Table 2.1-6. Worldwide Production of Ammonium Phosphate Fertilizer in the Period 1980 to 1994 in loi t/a P205. World

North Latin Western Eastern America America Europe Europe
















19 155




1990 1994










The most important producer country in Western Europe is Spain with 357 . 10’ t/d in 1994, only ca. 50 . 10’ t/a being produced in the Federal Republic of Germany. Importance of Nitrophosphates The manufacture of this type of phosphorus fertilizer (also known as NPK- or NP-fertilizers) is largely restricted to Europe. The worldwide capacity in 1985 was estimated to be 4.4 . 1 O6 t/a P205,Western Europe accounting for 2 . 1 Oh t/a P205and Eastern Europe for 1.1 . 1 O6 t/a P2OS.

Nitrophosphate\: lnainb in Western







c Importance and Manufacture of Thermal (Sinter, Melt) and Basic Slag (Thomas) Phosphates These products, which only dissolve very slowly in the soil, are only produced and marketed in limited geographic areas. Their significance is very small in a worldwide context. Their production will be considered below. Sinter phosphates: “Rhenania phosphates” with a P20s content of ca. 29% are obtained by sintering apatite, silica and sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide. Their annual production in the Federal Republic of Germany is over 300 . lo3 t (corresponding to ca. 90 . 10’ t/a P20s).

“Rhenania Phosphates”: by sintering apatite, silica and \odium 29c/r’. carbonate, p2°5 content Production in the Federal Republic of Germany > 3oo,




2 Mineral Fertilizers

Defluoridized apatites:

world capacity 1.5 . loh tla (mainly in USA and former States of USSR). P205 content ca. 42%

Melt phosphates: by melting apatite with Mg-compounds and silica PlOs-content ca. 2 1 % production mainly in East Asia ca. 3% of worldwide phosphate fertilizer production

Thomas phosphates: from the smelting of phosphoruacontaining iron ores P205 content between 10 and 18% production in the EU: ca. 220 . 103 t PIOs

Defluoridized apatites are obtained by sintering apatite in the presence of water vapor, silica and other substances. The world capacity (mainly in the USA and former States of the USSR) for this type of product, with a P20s content of ca. 42% is estimated to be 1.5 . lo6 t/a. Defluoridized apatite is also used as an animal nutrition supplement. Melt phosphates: A product with a P20s content of ca. 21% is obtained by melting apatite with magnesium compounds and silica. These fertilizers are mainly manufactured in Eastern Asia (capacity in Japan and Korea 670 . 10’ t/a). Melt and sinter phosphates accounted for ca. 3% of the worldwide production of phosphate fertilizers i n 1976, with its share decreasing relative to other types. Thomas phosphates: The slag resulting from the smelting of phosphorus-containing iron ores contains, in addition to phosphorus, mainly calcium, magnesium, iron and silica. The citrate-soluble P205 - content of these “Thomas phosphates” varies between 10 and 18%. Ca. 220 lo3 r/a P20, of Thomas phosphates is currently produced in the EU (mainly in Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Benelux). Future production depends mainly on the availability of phosphorus-containing iron ore.

2.1.2 Manufacture of Phosphorus-Containing Fertilizers Superphosphate Superphosphate (mixture of mono-calcium phosphate and calcium su1f;lte): from apatite and sulfuric acid

The manufacture of superphosphate from apatite and sulfuric acid proceeds according to the idealized overall equation:

Reaction proceeds in two steps:

This reaction takes place in two steps: anhydrite and phosphoric acid being formed in the fast first step. This phosphoric acid then reacts slowly - over a period of weeks - (“curing”) with further apatite producing mono-calcium phosphate hydrate. Part (ca. 10 to 40%) of the fluoride contained in the apatite is expelled in the form of gaseous

fast step: formation of anhydrite and phosphoric acid slow step (“curing”): conversion of phosphoric acid to monocalcium phosphate

2.1 Phosphorus-Contuirzing Fertilizers

silicon tetrafluoride, the rest remains in the superphosphate. Any carbonato-apatite and calcium carbonate in the fluoroapatite react forming carbon dioxide. The manufacture of superphosphate proceeds in five stages: grinding of the apatite reaction with sulfuric acid solidification and crushing of the primary reaction product “curing” - completion of the reaction comminution and possible granulation of the end product The grinding of the apatite (2 33.5% P20s), if necessary after prior crushing, yields a material with a particle size of, for example, 90% > Li > K > Cs > Rb alkali metal compounds: Na > K >> Li > > C s > R b Lithium and its Compounds Natural Deposits and Economic Importance The most important mineral for the industrial extraction of lithium is spodumene (LiAlSi,O,), which is found together with lepidolite, petalite and amblygonite (all with Li contents of 4 to 7%) and in salt lakes. The largest known reserves are in Chile (largest known deposit), Australia, USA and Canada. The main producer countries are the USA (North Carolina), Chile, Australia, Russia, Zimbabwe, Brazil and China. The worldwide reserves including the lithium content in salt lakes is estimated to be 7.3 . lo6 t (as lithium), of which 60% is in salt lakes.

content: in the Earth,s crust 65 PPm in seawater 0. I7 ppm


3 Metals and their Compounds

Indu\trially important lithium minerals: spodumene LiAISi206 lepidolite (lithium mica) KLi2AI(F,OH)2Si40lo petalite LiA1Si401,, amblygonite LiAI(F,0H)P04 USA is the largest Li producer and consumer Li-consumption has increased 2.5 fold since 1980 major applications: Al-electrolysis, batteries, nuclear technology

The extraction of lithium from brines in the USA (Utah, Nevada), Chile, Bolivia and Argentina is becoming increasingly important. In these processes lithium precipitates out as the poorly soluble lithium carbonate, as a byproduct in the production of other salts (borax, potassium salts, sodium chloride and magnesium chloride). The worldwide production capacity of lithium and lithium compounds in 1995 was 14 . 10' t (as lithium), of which 40% is in the USA. The current capacity in the USA is ca. 8 . 10' t/a and it is still increasing. It supplies 60% of the world market. The capacity in the second largest producer country, Chile, is 3 . 10' t/a and that in the former States of the USSR is 1 . 10' t/a. Metallic Lithium Metallic lithium: by melt electrolysis of LiCl/KCl-mixture (ca. 1 : I )

The proportion of elemental lithium in the total production of lithium and lithium compounds worldwide is ca. 10%.It is exclusively manufactured by melt electrolysis of a mixture of lithium chloride (45 to 5 5 % ) and potassium chloride at 400 to 460°C in steel cells with a graphite anode and a steel cathode. The cell voltage is 6.0 to 6.5 V. The metallic lithium formed collects on the surface of the molten salt electrolyte. Elemental lithium is mainly utilized for the manufacture of lithium hydride and lithium amide and for the synthesis of organo-lithium compounds (e.g. butyl- and phenyllithium), which are used as catalysts in polymerization reactions e.g. in the production of cis- 1,4 polyisoprene, as a reducing agent in organic chemistry and in the refining of metal melts in metallurgy. Lithium alloys are also utilized, e.g. Li/Mg-alloys, as extremely light and easy to work construction materials (in aerospace applications). Finally lithium is very important in nuclear technology e.g. nuclear weapons manufacture and increasingly as anodes for batteries with a high energy density and long term stability. Lithium Compounds Most important lithium compounds:

Li2CO1, LiOH, LiH, LiCl

Lithium carbonate: Lithium carbonate is industrially the most important lithium compound and the starting material for most of the other lithium salts. It is formed in the processing of lithium minerals and brines. Enriched and calcined lithium ore (spodumene) is digested e.g. with

3. I Alkali and Alkaline Eurth Metals and their Compounds

concentrated sulfuric acid at > 250"C, leached with water and finally reacted with sodium carbonate (see Schema in Fig. 3.1 -1). Lithium-containing brines are evaporated, the lithium chloride purified and converted with sodium carbonate into lithium carbonate (see Schema in Fig. 3.1-1). Lithium carbonate is utilized as a starting material for the manufacture of all other lithium compounds and in large quantities in manufacture of by melt electrolysis (ca. 25% of the total lithium consumption). Lithium carbonate is also used as a flux in the glass, enamel and ceramic industries, which accounts for a further ca. 25% of lithium consumption. Glasses with high lithium content (on the basis of lithium aluminosilicate) are as a result of their low thermal expansion coefficients virtually fireproof. In psychiatry high purity lithium carbonate is utilized for the treatment of manic-depressive complaints. Lithium hydroxide: Lithium hydroxide is produced by the reaction of lithium carbonate with calcium hydroxide: Li,CO,

+ Ca(OH), --+ CaC03 + 2 LiOH

Lithium hydroxide monohydrate is industrially important in the manufacture of greases e.g. on the basis of lithium stearate. In the USA more than 60% of all greases are produced with the help of lithium soaps (ca. 25% of total lithium consumption). Lithium hydride: Lithium hydride is manufactured from metallic lithium and hydrogen. It is industrially important as a source of hydrogen and as a reducing agent in organic synthesis, particularly in the form of its derivatives: lithium aluminum hydride and lithium borohydride. 700 "C


+ H, +

2 LiH

Lithium chloride: Lithium chloride is manufactured by the reaction of lithium carbonate with hydrochloric acid. As a result of its high corrosivity special steels and titanium apparatus are used. The main application of lithium chloride is in melt electrolysis in the manufacture of metallic lithium.


LiKo-, applications: aluminum manufacture glass and ceramic industries medicine

intermediate i,, Li salts

,,,anufacture of ()[her

21 6

3 Metals and their Compounds



Pretreatment a t ca 1ooo~c




I 1


Removal o f

Residue lrilicat e d

impurities Wq, Ca. AL, ie)

r"l Li,CO,

Piecipitation -Conc.


LilNa sulfate s o h t ion



Fig. 3.1-1. Flow schema tor the mmufacture of lithium carhonate from spodumene. Sodium and its Compounds General Information Industrially important Na compounds: NaCI, NaOH, Na2C03, Na2SO4, Nasilicates, Na aluminosilicates, N q S , Na?SO?, NaF etc.

The industrially most important sodium compound is sodium chloride (see Section, followed by sodium hydroxide (see Section 1.7.2) and then sodium carbonate. Other sodium salts utilized industrially in large quantities are sodium fluoride (see Section 1.7.I.3.5), sodiumbromine and -iodine compounds (see Sections and

3. I Alkali und Alkaline Earth Metals und their Compounds, sodium-sulfur compounds (see Section 1.6), sodium-chlorine-oxygen compounds (see Section 1.7.4), sodium silicates and sodium aluminosilicates (see Sections 5.1.2 and 5.1.3), sodium sulfate, sodium hydrogen sulfate and sodium hydrogen carbonate. Metallic Sodium Economic Importance: The manufacture of elemental sodium is closely coupled to the utilization of leadcontaining antiknock agents for Otto motor fuels and is therefore now of only minor importance (due to environment protection legislation). In the USA, by far the most important producer country, the consumption declined 5.4% per year between 1975 and 1996. The worldwide capacity (without Eastern Europe) was 250 . lo3 t/a at the end of the 1970's, of which about two thirds was in the USA. The production in the USA in 1996 was only ca. 24 . 10' t, compared with 155 . lo3 t in 1970. Mangfacture: Metallic sodium is currently almost exclusively produced by the electrolysis of molten specially purified sodium chloride (modified Downs process). Older processes on the basis of thermochemical processes or the electrolysis of molten sodium hydroxide in the Castner Cell are no longer important. In the melt electrolysis of sodium chloride other salts are added (calcium and barium chlorides) to reduce the melting point of sodium chloride of ca. 800°C to ca. 600°C. Graphite anodes are used with steel cathodes and diaphragms of steel wire gauze. The process is very energy intensive, 10 kWh being consumed per kg sodium produced. The cell voltage is ca. 7 V and the yield based on electricity consumed is 85 to 90%. The current capacity per unit is ca. 40 kA. The sodium produced after several purification steps (removal of Ca, CaO, Na,O) has a purity of 99.95%. The chlorine produced at the same time is purified of salt dust and liquefied. Applicatiorzs: The most important application sectors for metallic sodium in the USA are in the production of sodium borohydride (ca. 38%), which is used as a reducing agent, and in the manufacture of herbicides (ca. 25%). A further important sector accounting for 20% of the consumption of sodium, is the production of metals which are difficult to reduce such as uranium, thorium, zirconium, tantalum and titanium. Its utilization in the production of titanium has, however, declined of late. Tetramethyl- and tetraethyl lead

Metallic rodium: production in the USA declined by XO% since 1970

USA-production in 1996: only 24 . 1 O3 t/a

Manufacture of sodium: by melt electrolysis of NaCl (with added CaCI2 and BaC12) at ca. 6OO"C, electricity consumption 10 kWh/kg Na

Applications of sodium: for manufacture o f - NaH. NaBHj, - difficult to reduce nietiils herbicides - antiknock agents as ii coolant in nuclear technology ~


2 I8

3 Metuls und their Compounds

produced from lead-sodium alloys with e.g. ethyl chloride has not been produced in the USA since 1991. The manufacture has been moved to Latin America and Asia:

4 PbNa + 4 C,H,CI


(C2H& Pb + 3 Pb + 4 NaCl

Sectors consuming smaller quantities of metallic sodium are the manufacture of catalysts, its use as a reducing agent in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, dyes and other organic chemicals. Sodium is also the starting material for various sodium compounds e.g. sodium peroxide, sodium amide (for organic chemical synthesis), sodium azide (for explosives and in the automobile industry for airbags), sodium hydride (a reducing agent) and organo-sodium compounds (catalysts e.g. for polymerization). Finally sodium is used as a coolant in fast breeder reactors, due to its technically interesting thermal and nuclear properties (see Section 6.4.5). Sodium Carbonate General Information: Development of industrial sodium carbonate manufacturing processes such as the Leblanc (1790) and Solvay ( I 865) processes stirnulatedthe the inorganic chemical industry

Sodium carbonate (soda) is a heavy chemical product, manufactured and extracted from natural deposits, comparable in importance to sodium hydroxide. The development of processes for the synthetic manufacture of sodium carbonate is closely associated with the history of industrial inorganic chemistry (Leblanc process, Solvay process and the technical developments which resulted from them). The applications of sodium carbonate e.g. in the manufacture of glass and for cleaning purposes have been known since ancient times.

Deposits of Sodium Carbonate Minerals Very large deposits of sodium carbonate in USA and East Africa

Sodium carbonate occurs, often together with sodium hydrogen carbonate and other minerals, in many deposits. One important mineral is trona (Na2C03 . NaHCO, . 2H20). The worldwide natural sodium carbonate deposits are very large (e.g. Wyoming, USA has reserves of ca. 41 . lo9 t in depths of e.g. 250 to 450 m). The deposits in salt lakes (USA, Mexico, East Africa, Southern Sahara) are still of major importance.

3. I Alkali and Alkaline Earth Metals and their Cornpounds


The reserves in the salt lakes of California are 600 . lo6 t, with a further 30 . lo6 t in the East African salt lakes (Kenya).

Economic Importance The world production of sodium carbonate has increased considerably from 12.7 . lo6 t in 1960 to 20.6 . lo6 t in 1970 to 31.5 . lo6 t in 1993, which, except for production in the USA, was almost exclusively synthetic. The capacity in the Federal Republic of Germany is currently 1.9 . lo6 t/a. USA production increased from ca. 7.7 . lo6 t in 1981, of which 90% was from natural deposits, to 11 . lo6 t/a in 1994, which was exclusively from natural deposits. In 1970, sodium carbonate from natural deposits accounted for 15% of the worldwide production. This proportion had increased to 35% by 1994. Further advances in the economics of sodium carbonate production from natural deposits are to be expected upon changing from mining to extraction as an aqueous solution, so-called “solution mining”. The high energy costs of sodium carbonate manufacture and stricter environment protection requirements have led to the closure of all the sodium carbonate manufacturing plants in the USA (last plant closed down in 1985). The future production of sodium carbonate is strongly linked to the demand for chlorine, since sodium carbonate and sodium hydroxide are in strong competition in many areas: neutralization processes, synthesis of other sodium compounds etc. If there is a disproportionate increase in chlorine production, the linked product sodium hydroxide will become more competitive and will adversely affect sodium carbonate demand. For specific applications it is often the price of a sodium equivalent which determines whether sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide is used.

Production of sodium carbonate in 1992 in 106 1:

USA Former States of USSR China FR Germany Great Britain Japan France

9.4 4.0 4.0 I .7 I .o

I .o I .o

Sodium Carbonate Production from Natural Deposits The most important raw material for the industrial extraction of “natural” sodium carbonate is trona. The sodium carbonate-containing mineral is processed to pure sodium carbonate by two processes. In the monohydrate process (see Fig. 3.1-2) the mineral is first calcined, then dissolved in water, then filtered to remove insoluble

Most important sodium Carbonate mineral: trona Na2COI. NaHCO-(. 2 H 2 0 Processing to pure sodium carbonate: monohydrateprocess sesquihydrate process


3 Metals and their Coinpounds

constituents and finally evaporated to dryness producing sodium carbonate monohydrate. In the sesyuicarbonate process trona is first dissolved in water, freed of impurities and then calcined.


- - --. -..........

Product stream Steam Weak liquor Sediment Solids recycled

Calcina ted soda ash

Fig. 3.1-2. Production of calcined sodium carbonate from trona by the monohydratc process. a) trona storage; b) pulverizer: c) sieve; d) rotary tube furnace; e) diswlution unit; f ) cla\sifier; g ) concentrator; h) filter press; i) activated charcoal filter; j ) vacuum crystallizer; k ) cyclone; I ) centrifuge; in) dryer; n ) cooler; o ) classifier; p) product stock

Sodium hydrogen carbonate is extracted from the salt concentrates of the salt lakes. After thermal treatment to remove impurities and crystallization as its monohydrate, it is calcined to pure sodium carbonate.

Synthetic Sodium Carbonate Manufacture Solvay process: sodium carbonate from NaCl and caco3with ammonia as reaction.aid

The industrial Solvay process (ammonia-sodium carbonate process) is based on the precipitation of the relatively poorly soluble sodium hydrogen carbonate from an aqueous sodium chloride solution according to:

3.1 Alkali and Alkuline Earth Metuls and their Compounds

NaCl + NH4HCO3--+ NaHCO,

+ NH4Cl

This reaction is brought about by passing gaseous ammonia into a concentrated sodium chloride solution and then saturating it with carbon dioxide. The precipitated sodium hydrogen carbonate is separated off and then calcined to sodium carbonate e.g. in a rotary tube furnace:

2 NaHCO,

--+ Na2C03 + C 0 2 + H 2 0

Process s t e p : production o f a concentrated NaCIsolution pyrolysis of CaC03 into CaO + CO? saturation of NaCI-solution with NH? precipitation of NaHCOl by saturating with COz separation of NaHCOi calcination (CO?-splitting oft) to NazCOi pt-oduction OF Ca(OH)2 NHi-rccovery

Carbon dioxide and the ammonia recovered by treating the ammonium chloride formed with calcium hydroxide are returned to the process cycle. Ammonia is therefore only a reaction-aid. The overall reaction is:

CaCO, + 2 NaCl _ j Na2C03+ CaCl, with calcium chloride-containing brine as a byproduct, which is difficult to dispose of. A modified Solvay process with reduced energy consumption and improved calcium chloride recovery has been developed by Asahi. In the Leblanc process introduced at the end of the eighteenth century, sodium chloride is reacted with sulfuric acid, the sodium sulfate formed is reduced with coal to sodium sulfide, which is reacted with calcium carbonate to sodium carbonate. This process has not been industrially important since the 1920's.

Solvay process: energy intensive waste d i s p o d problem (CaC12 brine), no longer operated in USA

Leblanc process: industrially unimportant since the 1920's

Applications A large part of the sodium carbonate consumed (e.g. 50% in the USA) is utilized in the glass industry, of which ca. 40% is used in the manufacture of bottle glass. Sodium carbonate serves both as a raw material and as a flux for the glass melt to dissolve the sand (see Section A further 19% is utilized in the manufacture of chemicals, of which ca. 10% is for the production of sodium phosphates, mainly pentasodium triphosphate, in addition to silicates (sodium metasilicate pentahydrate and sodium orthosilicate), sodium chromate, sodium dichromate, sodium hydrogen carbonate, sodium nitrate etc. About 13.5% is utilized i n the soap and detergent industry and 2.570 in the paper and pulp industry. Small quantities of sodium carbonate are necessary in almost all industry

22 I

Applications of NazCOj: glass production inorganic sodium compounds soap and detergent production paper and pulp industry small quantities utiliked in a variety ot application areas


3 Metals and their Compounds

sectors (ore dressing, metallurgy, the leather industry, water purification, the food industry, ceramic and enamel manufacture, the textile industry etc.). Sodium carbonate is therefore one of the most widely utilized chemical products. Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate NaHCO?: very large reset-ves in the USA (ca. 30 . 109 t), which arc very little exnloited Production in 1995 in loh t/a: World: USA West Europe Japan

0.895 0.454 0.375 0.066

NaHCOi manufacture: both from synthetic sodium carbonate and sodium carbonate from natural sources; high purity requirements (up to food grade)

Mineral Deposits: Sodium hydrogen carbonate occurs naturally e.g. as the mineral nahcolite. Enormous deposits are to be found in the USA (reserves of ca. 30 . loy t in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado), together with oil shale. Economic Importance: The production of sodium hydrogen carbonate is much lower than that of sodium carbonate. The production in the USA in 1995 was 0.454 lo6 t being only ca. 5% of the sodium carbonate production and corresponding to 50% of the world production of 0.895 . lo6 t. The capacity in the USA has expanded considerably in recent years and as a result production should increase by 2% per year in coming years. A plant for producing sodium hydrogen carbonate from natural deposits came on stream in the USA in I99 1. Manufacture: In the Solvay process sodium hydrogen carbonate is produced as an intermediate. Due to the high purity requirements of sodium hydrogen carbonate, it cannot, however, be obtained therefrom. It is produced by reacting filtered solutions of calcined sodium carbonate with pure carbon dioxide with cooling:


+ H 2 0+ C 0 2


2 NaHCO,

Sodium hydrogen carbonate precipitates out, which has to be dried e.g. in a plate dryer, to avoid back reaction. Manufacture of sodium hydrogen carbonate is mostly integrated into the manufacture of synthetic sodium carbonate. In the USA it is also produced from sodium carbonate from natural sources. Applications: The most important application sector for sodium hydrogen carbonate is the food industry (e.g. production of baking powder), for which in the USA 33% was used in 1995. In addition it is used in the rubber and chemical sectors. Sodium hydrogen carbonate is also utilized in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, fire extinguisher powder and animal feedstuffs, a strongly

3. I Alkuli and Alkaline Earth Metals and their Compounds

increasing application with a 46% share in Western Europe in 1995 and a 25% share in the USA in 1995, and in the textile, paper and leather industries. The remainder is distributed over a number of applications (neutralization agent, manufacture of soaps and detergents etc.). In Japan 27% is surprisingly utilized in bath salts. Sodium Sulfate

General Information Sodium sulfate is an important heavy chemical in the chemical industry and is found in many mineral deposits. The world reserves are so large that with the present rate of consumption they are sufficient for several hundred years. In addition to extraction from natural sources, it is also produced in large quantities as a byproduct e.g. in the production of potassium salts, sodium chloride and borax and in chemical and metal producing processes. Dedicated manufacture e.g. from sodium chloride and sulfuric acid has become less important.

Na2SOJ-production: from natural deposits as byproduc, i n chemicaland metallurgical processes froinNaCl+ HzS04

Economic Importance The worldwide production of anhydrous sodium sulfate or Glauber’s salt (Na2SO4. 10H20) in 1994 was 4.3 . 10ht/a, of which ca. 2.3 . lo6 t/a was from natural deposits. It has decreased slightly in recent years due to a stagnation in consumption.

Production from Natural deposits and as a Byproduct The production of pure sodium sulfate or Glauber’s salt from natural minerals, such as thenardite Na,SO, or glauberite Na2S04 . CaS04, is important in countries such as Spain, Canada, USA and the former States of the USSR, but its importance is decreasing relative to other production processes. More important is production of sodium sulfate from brines from salt lakes (USA, Russia, Canada) or as a byproduct in the production of sodium chloride, sodium carbonate, borax, potassium salts and lithium salts. Sodium sulfate decahydrate is formed during the working up of

Na2S04 production in 1994 in IOh tia: 4.3 0.8 0.6.5 USA Mexico 0.5 Canada 0.32 Belgium 0.2s 0.25 Iran Japan 0.24

World Spain

Natural NazSO4: from mineral\ (thcnardite, glauberite, mi rabi I i te) froin salt lakc\. salt brines, salt deposits (e.g. potas\ium salt deposits)



3 Metuls und their Compounds

potassium salts e.g. in the reaction of kieserite (MgS04 . H 2 0 ) with sodium chloride. Glauber’s salt is converted into anhydrous sodium sulfate by heating in a suspended particle dryer, spray dryer, fluidized bed dryer or evaporator crystallizer. Sodium sulfate is produced in large quantities as a byproduct in various chemical and metallurgical processes e.g. in the production of sodium dichromate, vitamin C, formic acid, resorcinol and viscose fibers. Sodium sulfate is also formed as a byproduct in the manufacture of hydrogen chloride by the reaction of sodium chloride with sulfuric acid at high temperatures (Mannheim process, Hargreaves process and the fluidized bed process). At the end of the 1970’s the Mannheim process was used to produce about half of the sodium sulfate produced in Europe. However, these processes are hardly operated any more.

Applications Na2S04 applications: paper and pulp industry detergent industry glass industry textile industry chemical industry

The main consumers of sodium sulfate are the pulp, detergent and glass industries. In the USA the consumption in all sectors is declining strongly, thus whereas in 1973 1.8 . lo6 t was still consumed this had declined to 0.563 . lo6 t by 199.5. In the Federal Republic of Germany up to two thirds were utilized in the manufacture of detergents (diluent and suspension agent), but consumption in this sector has declined strongly due to the development of new detergent concentrates. In the USA only 45% is utilized in detergents and 25% in the production of pulp and paper (sulfate pulp from the Kraft process). The remainder is distributed over glass production, textile applications etc. The demand is however further in decline since e.g. in North America its specific utilization per ton paper has decreased from over 40 kg to in some cases less than 5 kg (due to improved recycling processes). It is used in the digestion of wood in which it is reduced to sodium sulfide, the actual active component. In the manufacture of glass (mainly float glass) sodium sulfate is utilized for clarification and in small amounts can be used instead of sodium carbonate. Smaller quantities of sodium sulfate are utilized in dye manufacture, in dyeing, in electroplating and in the manufacture of animal feedstuffs and chemicals (e.g. sodium sulfide). Glauber’s salt can be used as a heatstorage medium.

3.1 Alkali and Alkuline Eurth Met& and their Compounds Sodium Hydrogen Sulfate Sodium hydrogen sulfate is manufactured by reacting sodium chloride with sulfuric acid in heated cast iron retorts. The liquid product is solidified in refrigeration units. It can also be manufactured in liquid form directly from sodium sulfate and sulfuric acid and is produced as a byproduct in the manufacture of chromic acid, but this is contaminated with Cr(II1)- and Cr(V1)-compounds. Sodium hydrogen sulfate is used as a cleaning agent, due to its water solubility and the acidity of its aqueous solutions, as a flux, in the textile industry and for the treatment of metal surfaces.

NaHSOJ manufacture: N ~ C+I H ~ S --f O ~N ~ H S O+ ~HCI NaGQ +-H& ~N;~HSOI N a ~ C r ~ 0+72 H - 3 0 4 + --f

2Cr03 + 2NaHS.04 + H20 Sodium Borates Natural Deposits and Economic Importance Sodium borate minerals are found in nature mainly as Na2B4O7 . 10H20 (tincal, raw borax), the most important boron mineral, Na,B,O, . 4H20 (kernite, rasorite), Na2B,07 . 5 H 2 0 (tincalconite) and as sodium calcium borates: NaCaBSO9 . 8H20 (ulexite) and NaCaB,O, . 5 H 2 0 (probertite). The deposits are found in the USA (Boron, California is the largest production site in the World), Turkey, Chile, Argentina, Peru, China and the former States of the USSR. The main producer countries are the USA (38%) and Turkey (38%) in a total extraction of boron minerals in 1995 of ca. 2.89 . 106 t. The most important boron minerals, which are currently extracted in Turkey, are the calcium borates e.g. Ca2B60,I . 5H20, colemanite or borocalcite. Sodium borates are also produced as byproducts in the production of potassium salts from the virtually dried out Searles Salt Lake in California. Seawater also contains a nominal concentration of boron (0.001%), which can be extracted by ion exchangers. The total reserves of boron compounds were estimated in 1996 to be 314 . lo6 t, as di-boron trioxide. It was estimated that the largest reserves were in Turkey (> 200 . 1 O6 t). Sodium borates are the most important industrial boron compounds. They are mainly utilized as such, but are also used as starting materials (in addition to calcium borates) for the manufacture of industrially interesting boron compounds (boric acid, di-boron trioxide, inorganic borates, refractory boron-derivatives, boron carbide, boron

Most important boron minerals: sodium borates (predominantly NazB407 . I OH20) also in salt lake\ sodium calcium borates calcium borates

Main producer countrie\ for boron minerals: USA, Turkey, largest reserves probably in Turkey

World reserves (estimated): 314. 106t B203



3 Metals und their Compounds

nitride, borides, elemental boron, ferroboron, boron halides, fluoroborates, borohydrides, organo-boron compounds).

Extraction Manufacture of pure sodium tetraborate ( N a 2 B 4 0 7 . S H z 0 or NaZBd07 . IOH20) by working u p raw mineral borax or calcium borates

Pure sodium tetraborates are produced from crushed raw sodium borate minerals (tincal, kernite) by dissolution with heating in a weak borax-containing mother liquor, separating off the impurities (clays) and selective crystallization. Either the penta- or deca-hydrate is formed during vacuum crystallization, depending upon the temperature (above or below 603°C). Borax is also manufactured from calcium borates by heating with a sodium carbonate/sodium hydrogen carbonate/sodium hydroxide solution, whereupon the calcium carbonate precipitates out and sodium borate crystallizes out. Anhydrous borax is formed by calcining water-containing sodium borates initially in rotary tube furnaces, then in standing furnaces, it being produced as a liquid which is poured e.g. into molds. The other sodium borates such as sodium metaborate (NaB02 . 4H20) and disodium octaborate (Na2B,013 . 4H20) are of minor importance.

Applications In the USA 80% of the boron compound consumption (a\ B203) is as rodium borates

Main application sectors for \odium borates: glass, cerilinic and enamel industries detergents fertilirers tlaine retardant\ corrosion protection agents metallurgy

The worldwide consumption of boron compounds in 1996 was 1.24 . loh t (as di-boron trioxide) predominantly (in the USA almost 80%) in the form of sodium borates (as raw ore concentrates, which are often used directly, or in purified or calcined form). The remainder comprises calcium or calcium sodium borates (colemanite, ulexite), which are also often directly utilized e.g. in the manufacture of E-glass fibers and in steel manufacture and other products such as boric acid and di-boron trioxide. Sodium borates are mainly utilized in the glass, ceramic, enamel and porcelain industries (e.g. in borosilicate glasses in which the 12 to 15% di-boron trioxide is used both as a flux and to reduce the thermal expansion coefficient of the glass; glass wool with 5 to 7% di-boron trioxide for insulation purposes; glass fibers with 8 to 9% di-boron trioxide). It is also used for the manufacture of sodium perborate (detergent and cleaning agent), fertilizers [boron is a necessary trace element for plant growth; it is used for

3.1 Alkali and Alkaline Earth Metals and their Compounds

combating heart rot in sugar beet] and as a corrosion protection agent in antifreezes. It is also used for metallurgical purposes (flux, welding and solder compounds) and as a flame retardant in cellulose materials. In the USA its utilization for sodium perborate manufacture is lower than that in Europe due to different detergent compositions and washing customs, whereas its utilization in the glass-, glass fiber- and glass wool-sectors is greater than in Europe. Potassium and its Compounds General Information By far the most important potassium compounds are the fertilizer salts (see Section 2.3). Only 5 to 6% of all potassium compounds consumed, as KzO, are utilized outside the fertilizer industry. In the Earth’s crust potassium is the seventh most common element, almost as abundant as sodium. The most important potassium compounds are potassium hydroxide and potassium carbonate (potash). Metallic Potassium The manufacture of elemental potassium is unimportant with a worldwide production in the early 1990’s of less than 500 t/a. It is manufactured by the reaction of molten potassium chloride with sodium at high temperatures, whereupon a potassium/sodium alloy is formed, which is fractionally distilled. Metallic potassium is obtained in a purity of > 99.5%. The formerly operated melt electrolysis of potassium hydroxide or potassium chloride is no longer operated. Potassium is utilized for the manufacture of potassium peroxide K 2 0 2 and Na/K-alloys (reducing agent, heat carrier e.g. in the nuclear industry). Potassium Hydroxide Economic Iinportance: The worldwide production of potassium hydroxide in 1991 was estimated to be 0.78 . lo6 t, of which 38% was manufactured in the USA and 42% in Western Europe. In 1980 the USA production was ca. 0.2 . 106 t.

Potassium: indispensable plant nutrient; cii. 95% of the total KzO production utilized in the fertilixr sector seventh most coininon eleinent in the Earth’\ crust Industrially most important potassium compound$:

KOH. K2C03, KMnO?, K phosphates, KBr03, KCIO?. KCN, KHCO? etc. Metallic potassium has only minor industrial iinportaiice Manufactured from KCI + N a



3 Metals und their Compounds

KOH manufacture: by electrolysis of KCI solutions (mercury and membrane processes) KOH available in two forms: 45 a n d 5 0 % ca. 90%'(caustic alkali; by vacuuni evaporation)

Application spectrum for KOH in the USA in 1991: 20% K ~ C O I 19% other potassium chemicals I I% K-phosphates (K4P207 for liquid detergents) 10% liquid fertiliers 10%'soaps 30% other products

Munujucture: Potassium hydroxide is almost exclusively manufactured by the electrolysis of potassium chloride, by the mercury, membrane and diaphragm processes. Mercury and membrane processes provide a purer potassium hydroxide, although higher purity demands are made on the potassium chloride used. The technology of potassium chloride electrolysis is similar to that of sodium chloride electrolysis, but with a slightly lower cell voltage. In the case of the mercury process a very pure 40 to 50% potassium hydroxide is produced, whereas in the diaphragm process the dilute potassium hydroxide is concentrated by evaporation. Solid caustic alkali with ca. 90% of potassium hydroxide is mainly produced by vacuum evaporation. Byproducts of the electrolysis are chlorine and hydrogen. The manufacture of potassium hydroxide by the reaction of potassium carbonate with calcium hydroxide is no longer operated industrially. Applications: Potassium hydroxide is utilized in the manufacture of other potassium compounds (potassium carbonate, potassium phosphates e.g. tetrapotassium pyrophosphate, potassium permanganate, potassium bromate, potassium iodate, potassium cyanide etc.), of dyes, special soaps and battery liquids. It is also used in photographic developers, in glass manufacture and as a drying and absorption agent. In many of these applications its use is declining. Potassium Carbonate KlCO3 manufacture: by carbonation of KOH The KzCO3 1 .SH20 produced by carbonation is in part calcined in rotary tube furnaces at 250 to 350°C

Manufacture: Potassium carbonate (potash) was formerly produced by the ashing of wood and other plant raw materials. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, the saline residues from the rock salt industry and salt deposits have been the raw materials for potassium carbonate production. The currently industrially most important process is the carbonation of electrolytically produced potassium hydroxide. 50% potassium hydroxide solution (e.g. from the mercury process) is saturated with carbon dioxide, the solution partially evaporated and the potassium carbonate hydrate K,CO, . 1 SH,O which precipitates out is separated. After drying, the product is either marketed as potash hydrate or is calcined in a rotary tube furnace at temperatures of 250 to 350°C to anhydrous potassium carbonate. Anhydrous potassium carbonate is also produced in a fluidized bed process in which potassium hydroxide is

3. I Alkali and Alkaline Earth Metals and their Compounds

reacted with carbon dioxide gas in countercurrent in a fluidized bed reactor. In other processes similar to the Solvay process (see Section, potassium carbonate is produced directly from potassium chloride with amines such as isopropylamine via a potassium hydrogen carbonate step, but contaminated calcium chloride brine is produced as a byproduct whose disposal poses environmental problems. In the former States of the USSR potassium carbonate is also produced from alkali aluminosilicate deposits (e.g. nepheline) together with aluminum oxide, cement and sodium carbonate. Applications: Potassium carbonate is utilized in the glass industry (special glasses, crystal glass, CRT-tubes for televisions), in the manufacture of soap and enamel, in the food industry and in pigment production. It is also utilized as a starting material for other potassium compounds, e.g. potassium hydrogen carbonate (raising agent in the food industry, manufacture of fire extinguisher powder). Potassium carbonate is also used in the production of potassium silicate (detergent) and i n many organic chemistry and pharmaceutical syntheses.

In the former States of the USSR potassium Carbonate is also produced from alkali aluininosilicates e.g. nepheline KNaj[AlSi04]4

Main applications of K2COl:


glass manufacture soaps, detergents enamel food industry for manufacture of other potassium compounds

References for Chapter 3.1.1: Alkali Metals and their Compounds Technical Information: Bach, R. O., (Ed.). 1985. Lifhinm: Currenr Applicu/ions in Science, Medicine and Technology, John Wiley & Sons, New York. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1990. 5. Ed., Lithium und Lithium Conzpound.s, Vol. A 15, 393 4 14 , VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1993. 5. Ed,, Sodium and Sodium Compounds, Vol. A 24, 277 - 298,299 - 316,317 - 339, and 355 - 368, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Ullrnann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chernisrry. 1993. 5 . Ed., Potassium and Po/assium Compound.s, Vol. A 22, 31- 38 and 39 - I03VCH Verlagsgesellachaft, Weinheim. Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1995.4. Ed, Lithium and Lithiu227 Coinpound.%.Vol.IS, 434 462John Wiley & Sons, New York. Kirk-Othrner, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1997. 4. Ed., Sodium and Sodium Compounds, Vol. 22, 327 353 and 354 319, John Wiley & Sons, New York. ~

Kirk-Othrner, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1996. 4. Ed., Porassium and Potus,siun? Compound.s, Vol. 19, 1047 - 1057 and 1004 1039, John Wiley & Sons, New York. ~

Commercial Information:

Chemical Economics Handbook. Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California, June 1995. 746.5000A. Mineral Yearbook. 1990, Vol. I , 699, US Department 01 the Interior, Washington.

Sodium and its Compounds: Metallic Sodium Chemical Economics Handbook, Stanford Rcwwch Institute, Menlo Park, California, June 1997, 770. 1000A.





Sodium Carbonute und Sodium Hydrogm Ctrrhontrtr Chemical Economics Handbook. Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California, Sept. 1994, 770.4000A and May 1996, 770.3000A.


3 Metals und their Compounds

Minvrnl Yourhook. 1990, US Department of the Interior,

Sodium Borutrs

Washington, 1039. Minerui Comnroo'ifySimrmririr.~.1986. Bureau of Mines. Washington, 144.

Chemical Economics Handbook. Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California, Oct. 1996, 7 17. I000A.

Sodium Sulfure und Sodi~imHydrogen Sitlfiitr

Potassium and its Cornpounds Chemical Economics Handbook, Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California. Oct. 1993.

Chemical Economics Handbook, Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California, June 1996, 77 I . 1000A. MincJrcri Yeurhook. 1990, US Department of the Interior, Washington, 1061.


M i n r r d Y~wrhook.1990, US Department of the Interior, Washington, 88 1.

3.1.2 Alkaline Earth Metals and their Compounds General Information Economic importance: the alkaline earth metals: Mg >> C a > Be > Ba > Sr the alkaline earth compounds: C a >> M g >> Ba >> S r > Be

By far the industrially most important of the alkaline earth metals, beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium and : barium, as a metal is magnesium, followed at more than: two orders of magnitude remove by calcium. The, manufacture of strontium and barium is insignificant, that i of beryllium also amounting to no more than a few hundred t/a. Of the alkaline earth compounds the calcium compounds are the most important. This is due to the enormous industrial and economic importance of calcium carbonate (limestone) [not only in the chemical industry but also in the building sector (see Section 5.3.2) and in the metallurgical industry) and other calcium minerals such as calcium phosphate (apatite, see Section 2. I ) , calcium magnesium carbonate (dolomite), complex calcium silicates (e.g. cement, see Section 5.3.3), calcium sulfate (gypsum, anhydrite, see Section 5.3.4) and calcium fluoride (tluorspar, see Section 1.7. I ).


3.1 Alkali and Alkaline Emth Metuls und their Compounds Beryllium and its Compounds Economic Importunce: Beryllium is a relatively rare element. The industrially important beryllium-containing minerals are bertrandite 4 B e 0 . 2Si02 . H 2 0 and beryl 3Be0 . A1,0, . 6Si02. They are mined primarily in the USA, the former States of the USSR, Brazil, Argentina and other countries, and processed to beryllium compounds such as Be(OH), or BeO. Since 1969 bertandite is almost exclusively mined for industrial purposes. Up-to-date figures over the worldwide workable reserves of beryllium are not available, but the reserves in the USA are estimated to be 66 . lo3 t Be. The worldwide production without China was ca. 245 t Be in 1994, of which 70% was produced in the USA. Munufacture: Metallic beryllium is either produced by reduction from beryllium fluoride with magnesium in graphite crucibles at elevated temperatures or, less commonly, by melt electrolysis of beryllium chloride. Applications: Metallic beryllium is an industrial special metal and belongs together with aluminum and magnesium to the light metals. It is mainly (70 to 80%) utilized in the manufacture of beryllium/copper alloys with 0.5 to 2.5% beryllium (hardenable beryllium bronzes) e.g. for electrical equipment. Its interesting nuclear physical properties results in its use as a moderator- and reflector-material. Beryllium metal and its alloys are also utilized in the aerospace sector, due to their high elasticity-weight ratio and their high tensile stress. The USA consumption of beryllium was ca. 300 t/a Be in 1986. Of the beryllium compounds beryllium oxide is, as a result of its high melting point and its high chemical resistance, utilized for oxide-ceramic materials. The demand for beryllium is, however, stagnating or declining, mainly due to its toxicity, the recommended maximum concentration being 0.002 to 0.005 mg/m3 air.

Be-cnntenl in thc Earth's crust:

4-6 ppm Countries with large\t reserves:

USA, former States of the USSR. Brazil, Argentina

Leading Be-producing country: USA: 70% of world production in 1994

Application spectrum of Be:

7 0 to 80%: alloys 10 tn I S 99.999% The worldwide production of ferrosilicon in 1997 was ca. 1.8 . lo6 t/a, that of technical silicon ca. 0.92 . lo6 t/a. The main consumer of ferrosilicon i s the steel industry. Technical silicon is mainly utilized in the aluminum industry and the chemical industry. The demand for technical silicon in Western industrialized countries increased from 0.49 . lo6 t/a in 1985, of which 0.34 . lo6 t/a was utilized as an alloy component in the aluminum industry and the rest in the chemical industry for the manufacture of inorganic silicon compounds and ultrapure silicon, to 0.79 . lo6 t/a in 1995, of which 0.46 . lo6 t/a was utilized in the aluminum industry and 0.33 . lo6 t/a in the chemical industry. Due to the energy intensive nature of silicon production, production plants are to be found at sites with cheap hydroelectric electricity (USA, Canada, Norway, Brazil, the former States of the USSR). Worldwide consumption increased ca. 5.5% annually in the period 1980 to 1995, the demand in the chemical industry increasing at an annual rate of ca. 8% and ca. 3.5% in the aluminum industry. The strong growth in demand in the period 1985 to 1995 was mainly covered by increased imports from the former States of the USSR and China and only to a small extent by expansion of the production capacity in Western industrialized countries. In 1995 the former East European

Commercial forms of silicon: ferrosilicon

technical (metallurgical) Si ultrapure silicon (semiconductor silicon) Worldwide production in 1997: ferrosilicon ca. 1.8 . lo6 t h technical silicon ca. 0.92 . 10° t/a Main consumer of ferrosilicon: steel industry Main consumer of technical silicon: aluminum industry/chemical industry



3 Met& and their Compounds

Consumers of ultrapure silicon: electronic industry photovoltaic applications

Communist Countries supplied 2.5% of the demand in Western industrialized countries. Silicon consumption is expected to grow further at ca. 5% annually due to increased consumption in the chemical, electronics and aluminum industries. The current price of technical silicon is ca. 2.20 to 2.50 DEM/kg, it being considerably influenced by energy costs. Whereas ca. 3000 t of ultrapure silicon (“electronic grade”) was produced in 1980 for the manufacture of electronic components markets, the booming electronic industry in the meantime has led to an explosive expansion in production capacity to ca. 20 . lo3 (/a, of which 40% is in the USA, 30% is in Japan and ca. 30% is in Europe. Due to the strongly growing electronics market and the emerging photovoltaic market (solar cells on the basis of crystalline silicon), a strongly expanding demand for ultrapure silicon is expected in the future. Ultrapure silicon is the product of a very expensive multistage purification process (see Section 3.4. I . 1.2). The price for this material therefore increases strongly with the degree of refining. 1 kg of polycrystalline ultrapure silicon (“polysilicon”) from the pyrolysis of SiHCI, cost ca. 80 DEM in 1997, silicon single crystals ca. 600 DEM/kg and silicon wafers used in semiconductor technology ca. 1700 DEM/kg. Manufacture Ferrosilicon and Metallurgical Grade Silicon Manufacture of metallurgical grade silicon with coke in an by reduction of electric-arc furnace

Ferrosilicon and metallurgical silicon are manufactured by reducing quartzites with coke in an electric-arc furnace (carbothermal reduction), see Fig. 3.4- 1. The SiO,-content of the quartzite for the manufacture of ferrosilicon must if possible be above 96%, that for the manufacture of metallurgical grade silicon should be generally as pure as possible and have as high a SiO, content as possible (see Table 3.4-1).

3.4 Silicon arid its Inorganic Compounds

Fig. 3.4-1. Electric-arc furnace for ferrosilicon manufacture. a) furnace shell with lining (rotatable); b) electrodes; c) transformers; d) secondary energy supply; e) raw material bunker; f) feeding tube; g) raking machine; h) tapping unit; i) receiving pan

Table 3.4-1. Specifications of quartz for the manufacture of metallurgical grade silicon. Constituent

Content (%)


at least 98


rnax. 1.5


max. 1.0


max. 0.2


max. 0.2

Sulfur-, phosphorus- and arsenic- contents are undesirable, since they form poisonous flue gases. High AI2O3-contents lead to the formation of sticky slags, which can contaminate the end product. In the production of ferrosilicon the Moeller iron in the charge is added in the form of turnings or shredded iron. For silicon-contents above 45%, a shaft electric furnace is used with a power of 8 to 40 MW, whose substructure is lined with carbon bricks. The undesirable formation of S i c is avoided by rotating or oscillating the furnace. It operates

Manufacture of f e r r o s i l i ~ n : by addition of iron as iron turnings or shredded iron

27 1


3 Metals and their Compounds

Overall reaction: SiOz + 2C + Si + 2 C 0 proceeds via intermediates ( S O , S i c )

with three phase electricity, which in the case of metallurgical grade silicon is introduced by way of graphitized electrodes. Ca. 1 1 to 14 MWh of electricity energy is consumed in producing I t of silicon. The yield based on the silicon-content of the quartz is ca. 80%. The energy costs are ca. 2 I % of the raw material costs (quartz and coal) and 28% of the total manufacturing costs. The reduction proceeds in the following steps: Si02+C SiO+2C S i c + SiO



SiO+CO SiC+CO 2 Si + C O

Carbothermal reaction requires temperatures in excess of 2000°C. After ca. 1 to 2 h the continuously operating furnace is tapped with an auxiliary electrode. The liquid silicon (m.p. 1413°C) is collected in pans or ingot molds. If necessary, further metallurgical processes such as slag extraction or air blasting with reactive gases can be carried out to rid the silicon melt of included metallic and non-metallic impurities, before the silicon solidifies into brittle blocks. Latest developments concern the quenching of liquid silicon by feeding a jet of molten silicon into water (water granulation) or casting into cooled ingot molds. The material thus produced exhibits an improved reactivity in the synthesis of methylchlorosilanes (Rochow process). Metallurgical grade silicon is marketed in a coarsely crushed form or as a finely ground powder in different particle sizes. Powders with increased purity due to acid washing, particularly for the removal of metallic impurities, are specialty products. They are utilized, for example, in the manufacture of silicon nitride powder or reactionbonded silicon nitride ceramic components and are therefore the starting materials for engineering ceramic specialties. Electronic Grade Silicon (Semiconductor Silicon) Semiconductor silicon: extremely high purity requirements for pand n-doped elements

Silicon only exhibits semiconducting properties when The specific resistance of ultrapure silicon single crystals of up to 150 000 Q cm decreases upon doping with I ppb, of phosphorus to 100 L2 cm. Therefore the purity

3.4 Silicon and its Inorganic Compounds

requirements are particularly stringent for p- and n-doped elements, boron- and phosphorus-concentrations of 0.1- 1 ppb, may not, for example, be exceeded. Ultrapure silicon is industrially produced by pyrolysis of very pure SiHCl, or SiH4. The process currently used for producing 78% of semiconductor silicon was developed in the period 1953-1956 by Siemens AG (Siemens-C process, see Fig. 3.4-2). The starting material is metallurgical grade silicon, which is reacted in a fluidized bed reactor with hydrogen chloride (HCl) to trichlorosilane (SiHCI,), from which an ultrapure form is obtained by distillation.

Manufacture of ultrapure silicon by pyrolysis of SiHCIj or SiHJ

300 "C

S i + 3 HC1








fluidized bed-SiHCI3-production






1 condensation I + rough distillation 1 4Sic14 polycrystalline silicon deposition with doping

[ condensation f



polycrystalline silicon processing

[ gas scrubber i

hydochlbric acid silicic acid







+ + Lpolishing cleaning





Fig. 3.4-2. Manufacturing process for silicon single crystal$ from silicon dioxide.



3 Metals and their Compounds

Polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon) is deposited, upon pyrolytic decomposition of SiHCl, at 1000°C on thin pure Si-rods (“slim rods”). The yield can be improved by carrying out the deposition in a H,-containing atmosphere:

2 SiHCl,



Si + SiCl,

+ 2 HCl

The SiC1, formed as a byproduct is flushed out and further processed to pyrogenic silica and silicic acid esters. Since the BCl,, which is always present in trace concentrations in highly purified SiHCI, through complex formation, is barely depleted under these conditions, a further purification step is necessary. A silicon is obtained from the pyrolysis with ca. lo’, boron atoms/mol silicon (ca. 1500 R cm, p-type), which is widely used as such. l n recent years the pyrolysis of silane (SiH,) has been developed and operated industrially as an alternative to the trichlorosilane-pyrolysisprocess. The silane required as the starting material, is produced by reacting SiF, with sodium aluminum hydride:

The Na,AlF, (cryolite) produced as a byproduct in this process is utilized in the aluminum industry and the SiH4, after ultrapurification, is decomposed in a fluidized bed reactor to hydrogen and ultrapure silicon on nuclei of elemental silicon already present there (see Fig. 3.4-3): 800 “C




This process supplies ultrapure silicon in the form of ca. 13 mm, easily flowing and easily dosable beads. Compared with SiHCl,-pyrolysis, this process is characterized by low process temperatures and non-corrosive byproducts, but, due to the spontaneous inflammability of SiH,, it requires extensive safety measures. 1500 t of ultrapure silicon was produced by this process in 1997.

3.4 Silicon and its Inorganic Compounds

Fig. 3.4-3. Manufacture of ultrapure polysilicon from trichlorosilane and hydrogen. a) production of silicon granules in the fluidized bed; b) in the deposition process the silicon grows on an electrically heated slim rod in a compact form

An additional industrially utilized alternative is the disproportionation of SiHCl, to SiH4:

2 SiHCl3 2 SiHzC12 2 SiH3Cl


* ;=rt

SiHzClz + Sic14 SiH3Cl+ SiHC13 SiH4 + SiH2C12

The SiC1, formed as a byproduct, is returned to the SiHCl? synthesis process, thereby closing the cycle: Si + 3 SiCl,

+ 2 H, --+4 SiHC1,

Decomposition of trichlorosilane accounts for ca. 78% of the installed capacity for ultrapure silicon production and decomposition of silane for ca. 22%. The silicon single crystals required for the manufacture of semiconductor components can be obtained in two ways: either by pulling single crystals from the melt using the Czochralski process (CZ-pulling) or by crucible-free zone

27 5


3 Metals and their Compounds

melting [float zone process (FZ-pulling)]. Cylindrical single crystals with diameters up to 300 mm are produced by CZ-pulling (see Fig. 3.4-4) and FZ-pulling (see Fig. 3.45). The ca. 0.4 mm thick silicon wafers utilized in the manufacture of electronic components are then cut from the single crystals using special sawing techniques such as multiple-wire saws or inner-hole saws.

Fig. 3.4-4. Czochralski crystal pulling unit for the manufacture of silicon single crystals. a) rotary transmission; b) shaft for attaching the crystal seed; c) optical control system; d) quartz crucible: e ) graphite crucihle; t) graphite heater; g) thermal insulation: h ) rotatable shaft for crucible-attachment; i ) inspection glass; ,j) jeparating disc; k ) seed crystal; I ) seed-crysial holder; in) receiver for single crystal; n ) withdrawal door for single cryytal; o) inert gas control valve

3.4 Silicon and its Inorganic Compounds


Fig. 3.4-5. Zone melting unit for the manufacture of silicon single crystals. a) shaft for crystal feed; b) receiver for the crystal; c) polycrystalline crystal; d) single crystal; e) crystal charge; f ) seed crystal; g) seed-crystal receiver; h) shaft for postguiding the crystal; i ) rotary transmission; j ) vacuum pump; k ) camera for optical control; 1) inspection glass; m) induction heating; n) valve. Silicon for electronic components have to be doped with donors (P, As, Sb) or acceptors (B)

Silicon for semiconductor components must be doped with well-defined quantities of electron donors (phosphorus, arsenic or antimony) or electron donors (boron). This can be achieved by addition: before pulling from a crucible, during zone melting (introduction of PH,) or by conversion of silicon into phosphorus by thermoneutron bombardment. The increasing performance of electronic components has led to increasing density of integrated circuits in microchips for the computer industry. This results in a demand for the most perfect possible crystals and wafers with uniformly higher quality over long production runs, a precondition of which is a high degree of precision in material production, crystal growth, doping and mechanical finishing of the wafer. Waste from the production and processing of single crystals, i.e. material outside the specification for ultrapure

Silicon for semiconductor components has to he do@ with donors (P. As, Sb) or acceptors (B)

Sillcon for Photovoltaic devices: high purity demiinds, but n o t so high as for utilization in electronics


3 Metals and their Compounds

silicon production and single crystal growth as well as the silicon residue from CZ-pulling in quartz crucibles, is utilized for the manufacture of polycrystalline silicon for photovoltaic devices. These materials are melted and by directional crystallization (Bridgman process) or casting converted into polycrystalline silicon blocks up to 240 kg in weight. These blocks are then split initially into silicon blocks with a quadratic cross-section, which is then cut by multiple-wire saws into 0.2-0.4 inm thick wafers with a 10 x 10 cin2 to 15 x 15 cin2 format. These wafers are ultimately utilized for the manufacture of solar cells. Ca. 10% of the ultrapure silicon produced is utilized for photovoltaic devices. Silicon Applications

Applications of metallurgical grade (MG) Si: deoxidizing agent in steel production (ferroailicon) constituent of aluminum alloys production of chloroqilanes and silicones

In semiconductor technology ultrapure silicon has largely supplanted germanium because it forms denser etchable protective layers (integrated circuits) and can operate at higher - temperatures ( 150°C)

Silicon in the form of ferrosilicon is used in large quantities as a deoxidizing agent in steel manufacture. Silicon steel alloys are utilized as dynamo and transformer plates due to their soft magnetic properties, as machine tool steels, as spring steels and as corrosion resistant casting steels for chemical plant. Metallurgical grade silicon plays an important r61e as an alloy constituent in aluminum alloys. Addition of 2.25% improve the casting properties of aluminum in the manufacture of castings for example for engine blocks or cylinder heads. The utilization of inetallurgical grade silicon in the manufacture of methylchlorosilanes and the silicones produced therewith by direct synthesis (Rochow process) is covered in Chapter 4. Ultrapure silicon has largely supplanted germanium in micro- and power-electronics (integrated circuits, microchips, thyristors, transistors, rectifiers etc.). Silicon accounts for more than 90% of the semiconductor market. There are a number of reasons for the dominance of silicon. Silicon forms stable Si02-protective layers, which can be removed by simple etch processes. This i s the basis on which the etch and doping methods are developed, which permit an extremely high density of electronic components e.g. in microprocessors or memory chips. 64 MB memory chips can be currently produced in this way. In addition silicon electronic components can be used at higher operating temperatures (ca. 150°C) than germanium components (ca. 75°C).

3.4 Silicon and its Inorgunic Compounds

With solar cells on the basis of ultrapure silicon, sunlight can be directly converted into direct electricity utilizing the photovoltaic effect. Silicon wafers from single crystal or cheaper directionally crystallized polycrystalline ultrapure silicon are utilized for solar cell manufacture. Solar cell electricity production efficiencies up to 18% are attained with single crystal material and up to 16% with polycrystalline material. Solar cells of crystalline silicon have been used for years due to their proven reliability not only i n space applications but also in terrestrial applications such as supplying energy to remote houses and villages, water pumps and electric fencing for fields, meteorological stations as well as for telecommunications and traffic control installations and form the basis of a burgeoning photovoltaic industry. Crystalline silicon solar cells provided more than 80% of the 120 MWp of photovoltaic electricity produced in 1997. The utilization of solar power is currently sensible in places far from an existing energy infrastructure or where, as is often the case in developing countries, a large-scale energy infrastructure does not exist and would require too high an investment to set up. To be able to compete on a wide scale with conventional energy supply in industrialized countries, solar electricity must become a factor of 20 cheaper. Great effort is therefore being devoted to rationalizing all the process steps, to using cheaper silicon sorts (“solar grade”) and to developing special processes for the economic manufacture of “solar grade” silicon.

3.4.2 Inorganic Silicon Compounds The most important industrially utilized silicon compounds include chlorosilanes, methylchlorosilanes, silicones, silicon dioxide and silicic acids in different forms, silicates in the form of glass, water glass, enamel frits, silicate fillers, zeolites, silicon carbide and silicon nitride. This section will be confined to chlorosilanes and silicic acid esters. The other compounds will be dealt with, in accordance with their application sector, in other sections of this book. Silicutes and Silicute Products: Silicate products are utilized in a multiplicity of applications. They are dealt with under the following product groups:

Sing1eand polycryhtalline ailicon i s titilizcd in solar cell5 for photovoltaic electricity production. cells on the of crystalline silicon attain electricity production efficienciestlpto 18%



3 Mrtuls


thrir Compound,

5.1 5.1.1

5. I .2 5. I .3 5.3.3 5.3.5 5.3.6 5.5.4

Silicate Products Glass Alkali Silicates Zeolites Textile Glass Fibers Mineral Fiber Insulation Materials Cement Coarse Ceramic Products for the Construction Industry Expanded Products Silicate Ceramic Materials Silicate Fillers

. Man u tact lire and Silic~orl dioxirlr u i d S i l i ~ ? ~rrcid.~: applications i n thc filler sector, see Scctions and Silic~uiuirhirh: Manufacture and applications in the nonoxide ceramics sector, see Section Siliiwi cxrl?idtJj i h r i v u i i d Sic-coutrrl c.rit.lx)ir ,j?Iwrs: see Section Silicon nitride. Si.{N4: Manufacture and applications in the non-oxide ceramic sector, see Section Mrrcrl silicirles: Manufacture and applications in the metallic hard inaterials sector, see Section 5.6.9.

Silicon Hu1idc.s

The most important industrially u t i l i d silicon halides are silicon tetrachloride (SiCI,) and trichlorosilane (SiHCI,). Both are formed by the reaction ot' elemental silicon with HCI at temperatures above 300°C. SiCI, being incrcasingly favored with increasing reaction tempcraturc: Si + 4 HCl Si + 3 HCl

--+ SiC14 + 2 H2 + SiHCI, + H2

The direct reaction of elemcntal silicon or lerrosilicon (> 90% Si) with chlorine to SiCll is also used industrially. Since the 1960's processes starting f'roin SiO, have been disclosed in the patent literature: S i 0 2 + 2 C + Cl?

+ SiCI4 + 2 CO

18 1

The high temperatures necessary for this reaction are achieved by additionally burning carbon with oxygen or by resistive heating. Additional heat is also necessary for the manufacture of SiCl, from SIC: S i c + 2 C12 --+ SiCI,


SiCI, is the starting material for the synthesis of organofunctional silicon compounds and is utilized in the manufacture of highly dispersed S i 0 2 (pyrogenic silicic acid) and for the silization of metallic objects. (SiF4): see Section Hexcrfliiorosilicic acid (H2SiF6): see Sections I .7. I .3.2 and I . Hr.rr!fliiorosilicates: cee Section 1.7.13 . 6 .

Silicic Acid Esters Silicic acid esters, Si(OR),, are produced by the reaction of SiCI, with the appropriate alcohols. The most important representative of this group is tetraethoxysilane (tetraethyl orthosilicate) Si(OC,H,),, which is used directly, or after hydrolysis to ethylpolysilicates, as a binder for ceramic pastes, for inorganic zinc dust paints (corrosion protection), for the surface treatment of glass and for the rnodification of silicates. Silicic acid esters are further used for rendering polymer surfaces scratch-resistant. Othcr organic silicon compounds are treated in Chapter 4, "Silicones".

References for Chapter 3.4: Silicon and its Inorganic Compounds dc LIIldc, 1 . P. Futurr s l l / q l / y t I / l t / D N ~ i ( l / i dof S l / l c ~ o l i/ I 1 t h C/iei?iicu/ ~ h d u s f t ? . in: @ye. H. A,. Rong H. M.. Nygaard. L., Schiissler, G.. Tu\et, J. Kr. I99X. Silicon lor the Chcinical Industry IV. 13 - 2 I . Trondheim. Nor~bay. dc Lindc. J. P. S i / i c v n Mctctl: ( / / I E i - c i of'Groii~litrritl Pr.o.\/x,ri/\. in: 0ye, H. A,. Roiig H. M., Ceccarcily. B.. Nygaai-d. L., Tuset, J . Kr. 1996. Silicon for the Chcinical Industry 111, 3.37 - 344. Trondhriin. Norwaq . de Linde. J. P. The O u t l ~ r ~ X , /.Ti//c.o/r i~r M(,/(i/, in: @,c. H. A,, Rong H. M.. Nygaarcl, I... Schu\hler. G.. Tu\et. I.

Imhreyer, T., Hesse. K. /)o/ysi/ic.oflc/li//~roitrProc. f&ictlify Rrquircwc~iit.\c o l d MrtiXc,I, i n a y e . H. A.. Kong H. M., Nygaard. L.. Schiissler. G.. Tuset. J. KI-. I908. Silicon for the Chcmic;il Industry IV. 0 3 100. Trondheim, Now ay. Ullinann's Encyclopcdia of Industrial Cherni \try. I W 3 . 5. Ed., Vol. A 23, 721 - 738. VCH Vcl.lag\Ee\cll\chatt. Weinheim. Wodifsch, P., HiiBler. Ch. 1995. . S o / t r r t i / r c ~ i t o t i ,Nnchr. Chem. Tech. Lah. 43. 049 - 951. Winiiacker-Kiichler. Chciriische Tcchnologie. 19x6. Bd. 4. 224 - 229. Carl Hanwr Vcl-lag. Miinchen. Brochures of the Firrris Elhein ;ind SKW ovei- Fci-rosiIic(~i~ and Metallurgical Grade Silicon. ~

3.5 Manganese Compounds and Manganese 3.5.1 Manganese Compounds Economic Importance

Industrially important mangaiiesc compounds: MnO. MnSOq, MnCI?. MnCO; Mrl;O,, M n z 0 3 MI102


The following manganese compounds arc iiidutt-ially i in por t an t : 0

inanganeae(I1) salt\ such as the oxide, sulfate. chloride and carbonate manganese(ll,III) oxide and mangane.;c(lll) oxide manganese(1V) oxide potassium permanganate ( KMnOJ)

Statistics over the production capacity for thc la\t 10 years are available for: Woi-ldwide capacities in 10'

M [ I ( 1: KMnO,.

234.5 ca. 31


inanganese(1V) oxide: The current worldwide production capacity for inanganerc dioxide from electrochemical manufacture (EMD) is 194.5 . 103 tla, that for chemical nxuiufacture (CMD) 40 . l o 3 t/u. 34% of the worlclwidc EMDproduction capacity is in Japan and 3 I % ' in thc USA. The CMD-production c a p x i t i e \ are much morc \trongly concentrated. 90% of the capacity being in the company rium. Sedema in Belb'

Potassium permanganate: The current worldwide production i s estimated to be 33 . 10’ t/a to 41 . 10’ t/a, the leading producer countries being the USA with IS . lo3 t/a and China with 7 103t/a to 1s ’ 10’ t/a. Raw Materials Manganese in the form of its compounds is widely distributed in nature. is the twelfth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust with ca. 1000 ppm. In soil, rock and sediments its content varies between 200 and 4500 ppni. It is also present in freshwater up to a concentration of several ppni, which has to be taken into account during its treatment. Manganese ores mainly consist of (impure and nonstoichiometric) manganese( IV) oxides, manganese( 11) carbonate and silicate. In addition, manganese i s found in considerable quantities in the so-called manganese nodules on the seabed. The total quantity of these nodules is estimated to be 10” t. Harvesting of these nodules would be particularly interesting for the copper, nickel and cobalt present, less so for the manganese content. Research programs for the exploitation of manganese nodules were agreed by multinational company consortiums in the mid- 1980’s. Although industrially feasible, the exploitation of manganese nodules is not expected in the next few years. The most important of the currently accessible manganese ores are: Pyrolusi te: Psilomelane Cryptomelane Manganite: Hausmanite: Rhodochrosite:

manganese(1V) oxide Ba- or K-containing manganese(1V) oxide hydrate manganese(111) oxide hydrate manganese(I1,IIl) oxide manganese(11) carbonate


The most important deposits are sedimentary. The most important manganese ore-extracting countries with their certain reserves in 10” t, based on manganese content, are given in Table 3.5- 1.

M:ins’Ll1c\C ih Ihe lLlcllll1 I I I O S I iII~tIIi(I>III1 ~ I c i i i c ni ~ n the l;ar~li’\c n i \ t . M;in~;iiic\c

oi-es iri:iinly c o i i b i \ l of iioii-bl~)ichi[)tiiclri~, I,langaliesc~~~~~ l l ~ l l ~ ~ ~ l l carhoiiatc\ nncl \ilicalcs

l e ~ e ~ ~


3 Metcils


their Coinpourids

Table 3.5-1. Leading Manpnncw Ore Extracting Counti-ic\ xiid Revewes in 1995. Most iinportant manganese ore e x t r x t i n g couii t tries:

South Africa former- States of USSR Woi-Id reserves: 680 . IW t Mil-content

W o r l t l w i d cextraction 1995:

t ~ a n ~ a r lOI'es e ~ eill

7.3 . 10' t/a inanSirtie~e~ci)iitent

10'' I M ~ ~ - c o n l c n t


3 Wiirlil \Ii;rrc

South A li-ica



forinel- States of the USSR


70 0



6 .h




Aust ral ia












About 94%' of the worldwide extracted maiiganese is used in the iron and steel industry. Purallcl to the dccline in steel production in the period I989 to 1992, the worldwide extraction of manganew ores declined from 9.35 . 1 0 f l t/a (manganese content) in 1989 to 6.57 . 10" t/a in I992 and since then has increased slowly again to 7.1 . 10" t/a in 1995. The manganese content of the ores is at least 39%.

Manufacture of Manganese Compounds Manganese(1 I ) Compounds

nIVIIIC,. I ..I\.

hy reduction of MnO, e.g. hit11 cat-hon o r methane

Manganese(I1) oxide is innnut'actiired by the reduction of naturally occurring manganese( I V ) oxide-cont~iiniii~ ores (e.g. pyrolusite) with carbon or methane:



M n O + CO

at 400 to 1000°C. By appropriate control ol' the reaction. it is possible t o remove some 01' the oxygen from the nianganese(1V) oxide therrnally. thercby saving retlucing agent. The process is carried out in convcnlional units such as rotary tube or \haft furnaces. The tnanpancse(l1) oxide produced has to be cooled in an inert gas atmosphcrc to avoid reoxidation.


M t i ~ z g u r z ~ s r ( lsulfutr l)

Manganese(I1) sulfate is nianut'actured by reacting manganese(1l) oxide or carbonate with sulfuric acid:

MnO + H,S04


MnSOl. H 2 0

Rernoval of interfering cations from the nianganese(I1) sulfate solution is necessary before the subsequent electrochemical production of manganese( IV) oxide (EMD) or manganese metal. Transition metal ions such as cobalt, nickel or copper and traces of arsenic are precipitated as their sulfides. Manganese(l1) sulfate is formed as a byproduct in the oxidation of organic compounds with manganese(1V) oxide in the presence of sulfuric acid, e.g. in the production of panisaldehyde. Aniline oxidation to p-benzoquinone is no longer industrially important in Western industrialized countries, so most M n S 0 4 is produced from MnO or MnCO,.



MnCI2 + H 2 0

Heavy metal impurities are precipitated from the resulting solution as carbonates by adding further manganese(I1) carbonate. reaction of chlorine with manganese or ferromanganese:

> 700 "C



The molten iron(II1) chloride fornmed during ferromanganese chlorination can be removed by sublimation leaving manganese( 11) chloride.

M II SO,. Mi10 and WIILIIICacid. wluiioii purilicatioti hy pl-ccipiialioii (11' intcrlkring cation\ tioin

M I~CO;: from MnSOJ and alkali (amnionium)

cai-honateor hydrogen cat-bonate

Manganese(l1) carbonate occurs naturdly ;is the mineral rhodochrosite. It is manufactured from mangancsc(ll) sulfate by precipitation with alkali carbonatos, or alhali or ainmoniurn hydrogen carbonate:


+ 2 NH,HCOI + MnCO? + (NH&SO, + COz + H 2 0

After separation and washing, the mmganesc( I I ) carbonate obtained has to be dried at 120°C under inert gas t o avoid oxidation. Manganese(l1,III) Oxide (Mn,04) and Manganese(1TI) Oxide (Mn20,) Manganese(l1,lII) oxide (mineral: hausmannitc) is formed by heating manganese oxides with other valency states in air at X90°C, cg.:

Mn203: by heating MnO? at 600 to X O O T

Manganese( I I I) oxide is formed when manganese( IV) oxide is heated at 600 t o 800°C: 600 - X(H) "C



Mn,03+0.S02 Manganese(1V) Oxide Manganese(1V) oxide exists i n many modil'icatictns. The only modification which approaches ;I stoichiometric composition is P-MnO, (e.g. the mineral pyrolusitc) and it is the least reactive. All tho other modifications contain additional cations, such as Na+, K+, Ca7+ a n d Bii7+, anions. such as OH-, and water. The average valcncy state o f the manganese is also less than 4 (down l o 3.4). The almost ainorphous y-Mn02 (the mineral nsutite) is particularly reactive.

Manganese(IV) oxidc for utilization in dry batteries (yand E-MnO,) or as the starting material for fcrrites (pMnO?) can be produced by a number of processes: by activation of manganesc(1V) oxide minerals (pyrolusite) by reaction of manganese(1V) oxide minerals with nitrous gases by oxidation of manganese carbonate by electrochemical processes starting from manganese(ll) salt solutions The products from the second and third processes are known as chemical manganese dioxide (CMD). that from the fourth process its elcctrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD). Furthermore, a hydrated manganese(lV) oxide with a high alkali ion-concentration (6-Mn02) is formed as a byproduct in the oxidation of organic compounds with potassium permanganate, which is also known as manganite. 6-Mn0, is. for example, a byproduct in the oxidation of o-toluenesLilfonatnide t o o-sulfobenzoic acid imide (saccharin).

The activated manganese(1V) oxide obtained cont :I'ins s ~ r n e o f thc impurities of the manganese(1V) oxide minerals. In France, 2 . lo3 t/a of manganese(1V) oxide for batteries are nianuf:ictured by this process.

M ~ l l l u l ~ i c r i i r . et l l ~ l l l s ~ l l i c (lxiclc ~L~~,v~ ~ l c ~ l v ~ l( )~, iMI1ol ~ltl

reaction 01'

Mi102 iiiiticrd\

u it11 iiitroii\


~,,itla,iOtl elcctrocheiiiical SilIl\


(11 Mi11I I 1

Therrriiil De.c.oinpositiori of Mil(NO 1 ) 2 to CMI) Dissolution of suspciidecl mineral

rnanpmese(1V) oxide with nitrow gases a h M n ( N 0 3 ) 2 and precipitation 01' itnpuritic\. Then decomposition of M n ( N 0 3 ) ?to very p ~ r Pe - M n 0 2

Manganese( 1V) oxide minerals react with nitrous gases as fol I ow s :

MnO, + N z O j



140 'C


+P-Mn02 + N 2 0 4

A slurry of finely ground manganese(lV) oxide mincrnls in water or dilute manganese( 11) nitrate solution is trcntcd with

nitrous gases in absorption towers. Cu, Zn, Ni and Cd are also dissolved in addition to m a n g m x . These accompanying ions are precipitated ;is carbonates or hydroxides by adding carbonatcs (sodium carbonate, manganese(l1) carbonate) o r calcium oxide. The thus purified manganese(ll) nitrate solution is seeded with MnO, and decomposed at 140°C. The nitrous gases obtained upon decomposition arc further utilixd for dissolving manganese( IV) oxide mincrals. The thus obtained C M D with il purity of 2 99.5% MnO, is currently produced in the USA (Chemetds) i n quantities of 4 . lo3 t/a for the production of feri-ites, thermistor\ and as a starting material for other very pure manganese oxides.

manganese([[) sulfate solution. The oxidation of manganese( I I ) carbonate proceeds initially with air to a manganese(II1,lV) oxide:


0 2

+ MnOl xs + C 0 2

This is suspended in sulfuric acid and o x i d i x d with \odium chlorate t o E,y-manganese( IV) oxide:

The oxidation of MnCO, i s the dominant CMD-production process quantitywise. Sedema in Belgium currently produces 20 . 10' t/a of battery-utilizable MnO7 using this process.

Electrolytic Mnngunrse(lV) oxide ( E M D ) The electrochemical processes for manufacturing manganese(IV) oxide are currently the most important. industrially,Ca, 65 , o3 of EMD was produced in 986, A purified sulfuric acid manganese(I1) sulfate solution is electrolyLet1 at 90 to 95°C on lead, titanium or graphite anodes a1 current densities of 0.5 to 1.2 Aldm'. whereupon manganese(I1) is oxidized t o manganese(I1 I):




I'.lrc~Ioctictnii.aloxicl:t!iott 0 1 MnSO ,:

clcctIoclirtiiic;il oxidalioti o I d i \ \ o l v c t l MtiS04 to M n ( l l l ) . which c I i \ ~ ~ i ~ o ~ ~ o ~ ~ i o i i ; i ~ e \ M ~ , ( ~alld v ) ~ ~ ~ ( 1 1 ) . tlcl,tr\il\ the ;inode aiid I \ ~ l i \ c o n ~ i i i i t o t i \ lirciiio\ciI y

Mn3+ + e

Hydrogen is produced at the cathode. The Mn(II1)-ion4 formed disproportionate in a non-elecii-ochemical reaction into Mn(1V)- and Mn(I1)-ionc:

2 Mn3+ + 2 H 2 0

---+&-MnO, + Mn2++ 4 H+

The Mn(1V)-ions formed are deposited on the anode as very disordered E-MnO,, which still contains Mn(II1)-ions. The anodes are periodically taken out of the electrolysis u n i t and the I to 3 cni thick layers of &-Milo2formed are mechanically removed, ground. washed and dried producing a product with 92% MnOL and 3 to 5 % of water. The titanium and graphite anodes can then be reused. In order to maintain the Mn(1I)-ion concentration in the electrolyte constant during the electrolysis, fresh electrolyte is added continuously or intermittently and the spent electrolyte taken off and used for inanganese(I1) oxide dissolution. Potassium Permanganate There are several processes for the manufacture of potassium permanganate. Ferroinanganese or manganese(1V) oxide mineral5 can be used as a starting material.

K M ~ I Ott-ol1~ ~ I









by e l e e ~ i ~ o c l i e t i ~ oi cx~i tilIa t i ~ i i i . electrolyte i s poki\\iitiii hytlt-oxide









In the procesf utili/.ing Uerromanganesc a\ LI starting material, the manganese inctal i s clcctrochemically oxidized to pernianganatc:



KMnOd from innnpancst.(lV) o x i d c minerals: oxidation 01 M n O J with air v i a Mn(V)lo Mn(V1) (sinplc o r two 4tagc'). then electrochernical oxidutioti to Mn(VI1)

+ 2KMn0,+7H2

Cast ferromangancse anodes and coolccl copper tube cathode5 are uscd with an anodic current density of 23 A/dm' at a bath temperature 01' 20°C. The process is very energy intensive and is currently o n l y operated in small units in the fo'ormei-States of the USSR. PI-ocesses utili/ing maiigancsc(lV) oxide niincrals have to pass through thc following stages: Mn(IV) -




The first two stages are accomplished with atmospheric oxidation. the third electl-ochcmically. Oxidation of manganese( I V ) oxide minerals to manganese(V1) can be carried out in single- or two-step processes: tri'o-stc'p i-oristiirg ( i m ~ l iprow.s.scx )

In the first step, a slurry o f SO% potassium hydroxide solution with finely ground mangtinese dioxide, in a molar ratio MnOz:KOH of I :2.3 to 2.7. i s oxidized with air at 390 to 420°C in a fast reaction lo nianganate(V):

2 MnO,

+ 6 KOH + 0.5 0, +

2 K3Mn04 + 3 H20

Rotary tube furnaces or spray towers arc ~isecl;I$ reactors. In the second step, the nianganatc( V ) l'ornied is oxidized at I80 to 220°C to manganate(V I ) after optional grinding:

This reaction procccds much morc slowly than the first

step. 3 to 4 h arc necessary i f interniediatc grinding is employed. I n the second step ;I spccific partial pressure of water has to be maintained. The types 01' reactor used are similar t o those used li)r the first slcp. The yield of manganate(V1) is 85 to 90%.

sirigl(.-step liquid phase pr-oc'e.s,se.s:

In this process, a mixture oi finely ground Mn02 minerals and a 70 to 90% potassium hydroxide solution. in a MnO?: KOH molar ratio of 2 I :S. is oxidized with air at 200 to 260°C under a slightly increased pressure. The reaction time is 4 to 6 h. The tnanganate(V1) formed is crystxlli.axt out, the yield being 87 to 94%. The potassium manganate(V1) produced is then electrochemically oxidilred, continuously or discontinuously. to potassium permanganate: e-


+ H,O +


+ KOH + 0.5 H,

The manganate(V1) i s dissolved in a 12 to 16% potassium hydroxide solution. Depending upon the electrolysis process used, the manganate(V1)-concentration can be SO to 60 g/L (continuous) or 200 to 220 g/L (discontinuous). Byproducts of manEanate(V1)-production (gangue etc.) ciin be removed by filtration. Different types of cell are used industrially: mono- and bi-polar, with and without diaphragms. Nickel or Monel anodes and steel cathodes are used. In diaphragmlesaprocesses cathodic reduction of the perinanganate formed is suppressed by minimizing the cathode surface area by plastic coating such that the ratio of cathode to anode surface area is 1 : 1 50. The anodic current density is 0.5 t o IS A/dm2 and the temperature is 40 to 60°C. The yield based on the electricity consumed is 60 t o 90%. Depending upon the ccll type. the permanganate formed crystallizes directly in the cell or in separate cryst''I 11'izei-s. Recrystallization may be necessary. Potassium permanganate must be dried below l50"C, because it decomposes exothermically above 200°C. During electrolysis, per mole of potassium pcrnianganate one mole of pot iutn hydroxide is produced, which has t o be recovered. This can be achieved, for example, by evaporating the mother liquor to 750 g KOH per L. whereupon the dissolved potassium manganate(V1) and calcium hydroxide crystallix out and are removed. The potassium hydroxide can be returned to the dissolution step. Other dissolved impurities from the ores, such 3 s silicates or aluminatea. have to be removed from the alkali cycle.

e'CC'"'"'li"'' lll~lll~allc~LY V I ) I 0 ["'I:'\"""




p,.oC,,ct,, co,l,in,l,),lsl~ (), ~ l l ~ ~ , ~ l l , i l , , l ~ ~ ~ l ~ l o n nicLcl 0 r m ) I l c i :illo : is utilized i n the manufacture of other magnesium(I1) salts, ferrites and welding rods. MiiiO1 aiid MnlO.?: are utilized as starting niaterials in the aluminothermic production of niatig;iticsc. The pure oxides are utilized i n the manul’ricture of magnetic materials and seiniconductois. Murigrirzese(lV) o.widc: is utilized a s a depolarim in dry batteries, in the manufacture of ferrites, a s itti oxidizing agent in organic synthesis, ;is it crosslinking agent for polysulfide rubbers and as a componcnt 01‘ oxidation catalysts. Potu,s.riun? 1 , 4 ~ ~ i 2 c / r i , ~ c t r z c tist : utilized as ;in oxidizing agent i n organic synthesis, l’or the removal of trace impurities (e.g. from lower aliphatic alcohols), lor effluent a n d flue-gas purification, i n the production of potable water, for the bleaching of inorganic and organic materials and for the purification of zinc sulfate solutions for zinc electrolysis.

3.5.2 Manganese - Electrochemical Manufacture, Importance and Applications Manganese is mainly utilized as an alloy constituent in the steel industry as fei-romanganese and siliconi~itnganese.Pure metallic manganese is required in smaller quantities as an alloy constituent for copper, alutninum and special steels.

The production of a ca. 97% pure manganese metal by reduction of low iron content manganese ores with silicon, which is not dealt with here, is industrially less important than its electrochemical manufacture. The estimated worldwide production capacity for the electrolytic manufacture of manganese in 1988 was 77 I O3 t/a.

Pi-oductioii capacity it)[.CI~CIVOIS.~IC nlanul~lclureof Illangalle\c: i n 1088. cii. 77 10' I/LI



+ H,O + Mn + H2S04 + 0.5 O2

A highly purified manganese sulfate solution (see Section 3.5. I .3.1) serves as the electrolyte. The cathodic electrolyte contains 30 to 40 g/L manganese sulfate and 125 to 150 g/L ammonium sulfate and the manganese depleted anodic electrolyte 10 to 20 g/L manganese sulfate, 25 to 40 g/L sulfuric acid and 125 to 150 g/L ammonium sulfate. The anodes consist of lead alloyed with 1 % silver, the cathodes of stainless steel or OHastelloy, type 3 16. The cells are operated at 35 to 40"C, a cathodic current density of 2 t o 5.5 A/dm2 and a potential of 5V. The yield based on electricity consumed is 50 to 70%. Cathodically, hydrogen ions are discharged as well as manganese ions. Anodically, oxygen is formed together with considerable quantities of manganese(1V) oxide, which precipitate and have to be removed. When the manganese layers on the cathodes reach a thickness of 1 to 4 mm, the cathodes are removed and the manganese chipped off and dried. It has a purity of over 99.6% with oxygen and sulfur as its main impurities. Most of the other impurities are present in concentrations below 20 ppm.

by electroly\is of highly ptiril'icd M n S 0 4 \elution. Mi1 i \ dclxisitcd on 1111' cathi )tie and is d i scoilt In noiisl y rcmovcd. 111 addition to trxygcn. M i 1 0 1 i \ foi-med ;I[ the anode i n ;I side rcx~ti~iti

References for Chapter 3.5: Manganese Compounds and Manganese General Information: lJllni~nin'\Encyclopedia of Industrial Chem~stry.1990. 5. Ed., Vol. A 16, 77 - 143. VCH Verlagsge\cll\chnft. Wcinheim. Kirk-Othnier. Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1095. 4.Ed., Vol. I S , 963 - 1055. John Wiley & Sons. New Yorh. Commercial Information: Gl~ti~~r~ll

.IOIIC~.T. S. 9/1993. Mnngc/ti(m, 1992. Annual report. 1J.S. Hurcau of Mines, Wa\hington. D. C.


Chcinixhe Intlusti-ic. 1985. XXXVII. X35 Japan Chemical Week. 19X6. 27. 8 . Chemical Week. Feb. 19. lr)X6.. 12.

MiISOJ Chemical Mni-het Rcpoitcr. Fch. 15. 19XX. 33 Chemical Markct Reporter. M,iy 3. IOX7. 5 0 .

Industrial inorganic Chemistry Karl Heinz Bbchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto & Peter Woditsch copyright0 WlLEY VCH Verldg GmbH, 2MlO

4 Organo-Silicon Compounds

4.1 Industrially Important OrganoSilicon Compounds, Nomenclature Industrially produced organo-silicon compounds include monomeric low molecular compounds, almost exclusively belonging to the class of silanes, and oligomers and polymeric compounds including oligomeric silanes, polysilanes, oligomeric silazanes, polysilaaanes and particularly oligomeric siloxanes and polysiloxanes (silicones). Specific IUPAC nomenclature for organo-silicon compounds has not yet been developed. According to general IUPAC rules, the tetravalent compounds should be known as silanes and their ligands should be listed in alphabetical order and hydrogen should not be mentioned. In the technical literature the ligands are listed in the order organo-functional-, non-functional- and siliconfunctional-ligands. The term organofunctional ligand means a unit containing a functional group linked to a carbon atom (e.g. -CI, -NH2, -C=C-). So-called silicon-functional ligands are silicon atomlinked ligands which can be easily substituted (e.g. Si-CI, Si-OR). Compounds in which silicon forms part of a ring, are named silacyclo-compounds. Compounds with several linked silicon atoms, optionally via heteroatoms, are named: Si - Si Si - C - Si Si - N - Si Si - 0 - Si

oligo- and poly-silanes carbosilanes silazanes siloxanes

The trivial term silicones is widely used for industrially important siloxanes, their trivial nomenclature being given in Section 4.3. I .

Industrially produced silicon ~(11npoti11ds:

low inolecular silanes oligomer and polymer silanc\

Nonienclature: IUPAC: ligands in a1phabciic;il order

ligands i n the indu~trialIiieraturc order: - orpnofunctional - non-functional - silicon-functional




4 Orguno-Silicon Cornpounds

4.2 Industrially Important Silanes 4.2.1 Organohalosilanes Manufacture of methylchlorosilanes: from Si + CHlCl with a copper catalyst

Organohalosilanes are industrially produced by direct synthesis from silicon and alkyl- or aryl-halides in the presence of copper or silver catalysts using a proccss developed by Rochow and Miiller in 1 94 1/42. CU


300 - 350 "C


X = C1

R = CH,, C6H5,

The methylchlorosilanes are of paramount importance, ca. 1.2 . lo6 t being produced worldwide i n 19%. They are almost exclusively utilized as starting materials for the production of silicones. Ethylchlorosilanes and the corresponding ethylsilicones are produced In the former States of the USSR. Phenylsilanes are also accessible by direct synthesis from silicon and chlorobenzene, but they are currently predominantly produced by other processes. e




process residue


Fig. 4.2-1. Manufacture of methylchlorosilane\. a) preheater; b) reactor; c) catalyst mixture; d ) cyclonc: e) hcat excli:nigcr; f) raw silane container; g) MeCl purification; h ) comprcssor: i) McCl container; j) heatingkooling system

4.2 Industrially Importanr Silunes

The Industrial synthesis of methylchlorosilanes is a heterogeneous gas-solid-synthesis, in which silicon powder is reacted with an excess of chloromethane in the presence of finely divided copper or copper compounds in fluidized bed reactors at temperatures of ca. 350°C. The rate of reaction and composition of the product mixture are considerably influenced by the purity of the silicon (> 99%) and by the addition of so-called promoters, for example metals, metal compounds, in particular zinc and tin, and nonmetals or non-metal compounds, such as phosphorus compounds. The direct synthesis does not proceed exactly according to the reaction equation: Si + 2 CH,CI


but produces a product mixture, resulting from partial thermal cracking of chloromethane, consisting of methylchlorosilanes, hydrogen-containing methylchlorosilanes, oligomeric silanes and hydrocarbons.


The coniposition of reaction mixture c;in be controlled by additive5 includiiig 211~. Sn- and P-compounds

Hydrogen-containing inetliyl~lrloro~ilane\ are formed in addition to di~nethyldichlorosilanea h thc main product

Table 4.2-1. Average Composition of a Raw Silane Mixture from Industrial Direct Synthesis. (CH&SiCIz

- 85 - 90%




-3 9


- 1.4% - 0.5%






After separation of the unreacted chloromethane, which after purification is returned to the synthesis, the raw silane mixture is worked up by distillation. The demands on the purity of the individual silanes are high, since they are almost exclusively used for producing polymeric silicones, whose properties are adversely influenced by impurities, particularly niethyltrichlorosilane and dimethyldichlorosilane. The product spectrum accessible by direct synthesis can be expanded by subsequent rearrangement reactions of the methyl- and chloro-substituents. For example dimethyldichlorosilane is produced from a mixture of trimethylchlorosilane and methyltrichlorosilane

The product spectrum acccsxihle by tlircct synthesi:, can be expanded by \ubsequcnt rearrangement reactions


4 Organo-Silicon Compounds

under the influence of Friedel-Crafts catalysts, such ;IS e.g. AIC13. catalyst

(CH,),SiCl+ CH,SiCl, Phenyl group-containing chlorosi lanes are formed from chlorobenzene and hydrogencontaining silanes

The phenylchlorosilanes and phenylmethylclilor~~~ilanes also required in the manufacture of silicones, currcntly only produced to a limited extent by ditcct synthesis. are preferably produced by the reaction 01' chlorobcwenc with hydrogen-containing silanes according to the equations:



CH3HSiC12+ C6HsCl

Chlorosilanes with longer alkyl-groups are produced by hydrosilation of alkenes

+2 (CH,)2SiCI,

- 500 "C



- 500 "C


C,HsCH7SiCI, + HCl

The reactions proceed without a catalyst and SiC14, CH3SiC13 and benzene are produced as byproducts. Chlorosilanes with longer alkyl groups can bc obtained by hydrosilation in which an alkene is addcd to hydrogencontaining chlorosilanes, under the catalytic inl'luence of transition metals (preferably Pt-compounds) e.g. according to the equation: Pt

CH3HSiCl2+ H,C=CH-R +CH ,(CH,CH,R)SiCl, R = Alkyl incl., CHXI, (CH2)7- 0 CH? - CH - CH? \/ 0

4.2.2 Industrially Important Silicon-functional Organo-Silanes In organo-functional organo-silanes: RnSiX,.,

0 R = CH3, II X = e.g. CI, H, OCH,, 0-C-CH,,

NHCH,, N(CH,),

X is a group, which is nucleophilically substitutable or solvolytically cleavable by proton-active agents. Such

4.2 Industriullv Important Sikines


groups include halogens and in particular hydrogen, acyl-, alkoxy-, carboxy-, amino- and arnido-groups. Organoalkoxysilanes Organoalkoxysilanes are utilized in different application sectors, because under application conditions no acidic cleavage products are formed as is the case with organohalosilanes. In addition intentional hydrolysis, e.g. in silicone chemistry, is generally easier to control than in the case of organohalosilanes. Organoalkoxysilanes can be produced by the stoichiometric reaction of organohalosilanes with alcohols according to the following equation: R,SiCl, + (4-n) R’OH --+R,Si(OR’)4-n R = H, Alkyl, Aryl R’ = incl. CH3, C2H5

+ (4-n)


A prerequisite for a high degree of reaction is removal of the hydrogen chloride formed either by addition of a base such as tertiary amines or by appropriate control of the reaction. Industrially this is attained by the utilization of a reaction distillation column, i n which a silane-alcohol mixture is fed into the upper one third. Hydrogen chloride escapes with a small amount of silanes via a condenser during the reaction of chlorosilanes with the rising alcohol vapor in countercurrent forming the heavier volatile alkoxysilanes. The alkoxysilanes produced as a sump product are continually run off. The stoichiometric nature of this process means that the siliconfunctional groups such as Si-H and organo-functional groups such as Si-CH2CH2CI or Si-CHZCHzCN survive intact. Chloro-alkanes are formed as byproducts due to the reaction of alcohol with hydrogen chloride. Alkoxysilanes, including tetraalkoxysilanes, are utilized as crosslinking components in silicone rubbers, in the manufacture of silicone resins, as adhesion promoters with special organofunctional groups e.g. glass fiber layers, in the formulation of corrosion-resistant paints and in mold construction.

O,.ganoalkc,xyailanes are fc)r,nctl I , ~ reacting organohalosilana with iilcohots with the siinultaneous reiiioval ( 1 1 hydrogcn chloride


4 Organo-Silicon Compounds Acyloxysilanes Acyloxysilanes: R,Si(OCOR')4.n R = H, Alkyl, Aryl R' = e.g. CHI, HC=CHZ have a considerable industrial importance as crosslinking agents in silicone sealants. The important methyl-, ethyl- and vinyl-triacetoxysilanes are, industrially, exclusively produced by reacting chlorosilanes with acetic anhydride or acetic acid according to the following equations: Triacyloxysilane, are utilized a\ crosslinking agents in silicone sealants. Produced by reacting alkyltrichlorosilanes with acetic acid or acetic anhydride


+ 3 Ac,O -+


+ 3 HOAc -+


+ 3 AcCl

RSi(OAc)3+ 3 HCI

Variants with acetic acid are currently preterred, the reaction being carried o u t analogously to the abovedescribed continuous production of alkoxysilanc\. Oximino- and Aminoxy-Silanes Oximino- and aminoxy-silanes utilized as crosslinking agents in silicone sealants in which acidic reaction products are undesirable

In the crosslinking of silicone sealants with acyloxysilanes, acids are formed as cleavage products. These x t often, for different reasons, undesirable i n technical applications. Therefore crosslinking agents with neutral cleavage products have acquired increasing importance. The industrially important methyltributanonoximinosilane is formed by reacting methyltrichloro\ilane with 2butanonoxime: < 60 "C

CH,SiC13 + 6 HOx +CH,Si(Ox), OX = O-N=C(CH,)C2HS

+ 3 HOx . HCi

In reactions in solvent, the oximc acts both as a reaction partner and as a base. The oxime-hydrogen chloride-adduct can be isolated as a separate liquid phase. By reacting with

4.2 Industrially lmportunt Silunes


bases the oxime can be recovered and returned to the process. Aminoxysilanes can be obtained by reacting hydroxylamines with chlorosilanes, whereby the hydrogen chloride formed is removed by non-reacting bases. Amidosilanes, Silazanes Amidosilanes are important as neutral reacting crosslinking agents for silicone sealants (e.g. methyltriacetamidosilane) as well as agents for introducing protective groups in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals (particularly urea-derivatives such as N,N’-bistrimethylsilylurea). Amidosilanes can be synthesized with the aid of very strong bases, such as sodium methoxide, from chlorosilanes and organic amides. N,N’-bistrimethylsilylurea is obtained by reacting hexamethyldisilazane with urea: (CH,),NH

Amidosilanes utilized as neutral reacting crosslinking agents fbr silicoric se;iJiint\ and as agents for the introduction 01 protective groups iri the synthchih o f pharmaceuticals

N.N’-bistrimethyl~ilyluI.ea i\ obtained by reacting hexarnerhyldisilaianc with urea

+ H,NCONH2 +[(CH3)3SiNH12C0+ NH:,

The most important representative of the silazanes is hexamethyldisilazane, which is utilized in large quantities for the introduction of protective groups in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and for hydrophobizing fillers, in particular silicates. It can be easily produced by reacting trimethylchlorosilane with ammonia: 2(CH3),SiCI

Hexamethyltlisilazane utili/cd as an agent for introducing protective groups and ii\ ;I hydrophobiying agent foI l’illers. 1 h n c . d by reacting tr~methylchloro\ilanc with ammonia

+ 3 NH3 --+[(CH,),SiI2NH + 2 NH4CI

Transesterification of methyltrichlorosilane, optionally as a mixture with alkyldichlorosilane and ammonia, produces processable intermediates for the manufacture of ceramic fibers and coatings. Organohydrogensilanes Organohydrogensilanes are formed as byproducts in the direct synthesis of dimethyldichlorosj]ane (see Section 4.2.1) and are important in the manufacture of hydrogencontaining siloxanes and organofunctional sifanes (see

OrgallohydrogenhilanesU[iliLc.das precursors for organof~iiic~ional \lililiic\ and hydrogen-conIaining s , ~ o x a r , e ~


4 Orguno-Silicon Coinpounds

Section 4.2.3) by adding unwturated coinpound\ in the presence of platinum catalyst\, \o-called hydro4ilation Pt-compound

-Si-H + H,C=CH-R _ _ _ _ j -Si-CHl-CH2-R R = Alkyl u. a,, CH2C1, CH, - 0 - CH - CH? \/ 0 Trichlorosilane is particularly important ;IS a \tarting material for organofunctional silanes. I t is produced by reacting silicon with hydrogen chloride.

Si + 3 HCl+


+ H,

Trichlorosilane is, furthermore, an important \tarting material in the manufacture of ultrapure silicon (see Section

4.2.3 Organofunctional Silanes Organofunctional silanes have silicon atoms linked to an organic group with reactive groups

In organofunctional silanes the silicon atom is linked to an organic group with reactive groups. They can be represented by the following general formula:

XnR3."Si-R'-Y X = silicon functional group R = Alkyl, R' = Alkenyl Y = functional group, e.g. C1, NH2, CN, SH, HC=CH, Alkenylsilanes Vinylsilanes utilixd as crosslinking agent for polymers and as functionalizing agents for silicones

Vinylsilanes are utilized as crosslinking agent\ for polymers and as functionalizing agents for silicones. Industrially they are produced in a continuous p r o c w by reacting hydrogen-containing silanes with ethyne i n the presence of platinum compounds in high boiling point solvents.

x,,R,., SiH + HC=CH X=C1 R=Alkyl



4.2 Industrially Imnportunt Siltriles


XnR3.,,S i - C H = W

The addition of a second silane to the vinylsilane formed can be suppressed by using an ethyne excess and removing the vinylsilane from the reaction mixture. Allylsilanes are also produced in large quantities, for example, by dehydrohalogenation of chloropropylsilanes. Halo-organosilanes Silanes with organohalo-groups are utilized as precursors in the production of other organofunctional silanes and as a component of different reactive silane products. Manufacture of the most important representative from this product group, chloropropyltrichlorosilane, is carried out continuously by reacting trichlorosilane with chloropropene (“allylchloride”) in the presence of platinum catalysts. Alkoxysilanes, which are produced from the chlorosilanes, are often used in practice. Organoaminosilanes The most important representative of this group is aminopropyltriethoxysilane, which is used as an adhesion promoter and component of silicone products, is manufactured by the addition of acrylonitrile to trichlorosilane producing cyano-ethyltrichlorosilane: C1,SiH


Organoarninosilant: u t i l i ~ c das adhesion pro,rloters in I,laterials


which is ethoxylated and then reduced to aminopropyltriethoxysilane, according to the following equation:


1) CH3CH20H


2) HZ/Ni


Aminopropyltl.ierhoxyila~~e produccd hq adding ally lamine to trich lorohi I aiie U‘I Ill subseauent ethoxvlation and rcduclion


4 Organo-Silicon Compounds

Alternatively allylamine can be added to trielhoxysilane in the presence of rhodium catalysts, accordin2 to the following equation: (CH,CH20)3SiH + CH2=CHCH2NH,_ j (CH3CH20),SiCH2CH2CH,NH2 Organomercaptosilanes,Organosulfidosilanes Silanes with organically linked sulfur are important adhesion promoters and vulcanization additives in the rubber industry

Silanes with organically linked sulfur are very important adhesion promoters and crosslinking agents i n the rubber industry and to a lesser extent i n thc polymer industry. Whereas bis(triethoxysily1-propyl)sull'iclc, f o r example, can be easily produced by reacting chloropropyltrie~tioxysilane with alkali sulfides:

2 (CH,CH20)3Si(CH2)3Cl+ Na2S -+

[(CH3CH2O),Si(CH,),I2S + 2 NaCl

the mercapto-compounds are best produccd by reaction with thiourea. (CH3CH20)3Si(CH2),C1+ S=C(NH& + (CH,CH20)3Si(CH2),S*C(NH , ) Q + NH, - (H,N),C

> (CH3CH20)$i(CH2),SH

= NH,+CI- Other OrganofunctionalSilanes Organofunctional silanes with hydroxy-, epoxy-. acryl-, ester- and carboxy-functions are produced industrially. They are in particular utilized as additives for modification of polymers and for functionalizing silicones for different application sectors. Most of these cornpoiincis are manufactured by the addition of appropriately functionalized alkenyl-compounds.

References for Chapter 4.1 and 4.2: Organo-Silicon Compounds Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1993. 5. Ed., Silicon Cor~~~~ounrf.r,Vol. A 24, 2 I - S6, VCH Verlagcgesellschaft, Weinheim. Patai, S., Pappapon, 2. (Ed.) 1989. The Chemistry of Organic Silicon Compounds, 2 Vols. , Wiley Interscience, Chichester. Clarke, M. P. 1989. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 165 222.

Cory, J . Y., Corey. E. R.. Gaapar. P. P. (Ed I 198% LSi/iuul Chrmistn. Ellis Horwood, Sussex. Rochow, E. G. 1987. Silicon and Silicone\. Sprinfer Verlag, Berlin. Pawlenko, S. 1986. Organosilicon CheiniWy. W . ile Gruyter, Berlin.


4.3 Silicones 4.3.1 Structure and Properties, Nomenclature Silicones are compounds, in which silicon atoms, each linked to one or more organic groups via carbon-silicon bonds, are linked to one another through oxygen atoms to produce straight chain, branched or crosslinked oligomeric or polymeric molecules. The simplest silicones are the a,U bis-trimethylsiloxypolydimethylsiloxanes (see formula in the marginal notes). The name silicones, due to the American chemist Kipping, also extends to formulations of these polymers with other materials. According to IUPAC Rule D-6.2, the term siloxane is the name for oxygen compounds of the general formula H3Si[O-SiH2],-O-SiH3, in which hydrogen can be replaced by organic groups. According to the provisional rules (Pure Appl. Chem. 53, 2283-2302 (1981) for the designation of organic macromolecules, polydimethylsiloxane should be named catena-poly(dimethy1-silicon)-p-0x0. The international non-proprietary name for dimethylsiloxanes in cosmetic and pharmaceutical formulations is dimeticon. Poly(organosi1oxanes) are built up of a combination of the units R3Si01/2 (monofunctional, abbreviated to M), R2Si02/2 (difunctional, abbreviated to D), RSiOy2 (trifunctional, abbreviated to T) and SiO4/2 (tetrafunctional, abbreviated to Q). A combination of these units is chemically possible in the widest sense. In industrial silicone products R is generally a methyl- or a phenylgroup.


Silicones = polyorganosilo~an~~\: e.g.


CH3-Si-0 I CHI 11:


u p to 14ooO knowr,


4 Orguno-Silicon Compounds

Silicone units and silanes from which they are formed: silicone unit R3SiCl a R3Si01/2 = M R$Si0212 =D R2SiCI2 =T RSiC13 a RSiOl,? Sic14 a SiO4/2 =Q R is generally methyl or phenyl

Combinations of these functional units lead to a multiplicity of products

Properties of silicones: stable to: - high temperatures; - oxidation; - weather hydrophobic depending upon structure: - foam destabilizing - foam stabilizing abhesive electricallv non-conducting'. gas- and vapor-permeable physical properties change little with temperature physiologically compatible

The combination of monofunctional units, M , with difunctional units, D, leads to straight chain polyor,wnosiloxanes terminated by M-units. Combination o f only difunctional units produces cyclic polyorgano-silox~incsor open-chain polydiorganosiloxanes with, for example, a hydroxy or alkoxy end group. The incorporation o f T- and optionally also Q-units leads to branched polyorganosiloxanes. Siloxanes with M-, D-, T- and Q-units can be produced from mono-, di- and trichloro-silanes and silicon tetrachloride by hydrolysis or catalytic rearrangement of siloxanes or siloxane-mixtures with the appropriate units. These diverse polyorganosiloxanes form the basis of industrial silicone products. The product spectrum is vast, manufacturers with a complete product range having in excess of 1000 individual products in their program. Silicone products are, as a result of their exceptional properties, widely utilized as raw materials and additives. They are stable at high temperatures and are resistant to oxidation and weathering. They are also surface active hydrophobic substances which, depending upon their structure, can exhibit either defoaming (as defoaming agents) or toam-stabili/ing (as foam stabilizers) properties. They are abhesive, electrically non-conducting and exhibit high gas and vapor permeability. Their physical properties also vary little with temperature.

4.3.2 Economic Importance Silicone production in 1995 estimated a\ similar to production of organochlorosi lanes: World: 1.3 . 106 t/a

Silicones have been uroduced industrially since the 1940's. In 1995 there were thirteen silicone producers in Western industrialized countries. Silicone production can be estimated on the basis of the production of organochlorosilanes, the starting materials for silicone production. taking into account that ca. 0.5 kg of methylsiloxane is produced from 1 kg of dimethyldichlorosilane. Since silicone products generally contain additives, such as fillers, or are combined with other components, the total quantity of silicone products should be similar t o the quantity of (organoch1oro)silanes produced. This was 1.3 . 10" t in 1995 with a value of ca. 8 . lo9 DEM. The largest markets are the USA with a ca. 40% share, followed by the EU and Japan. Virtually the whole worldwide capacity for silicones

4.3 Si1iconr.s

is to be found in these countries. Notable is the historical and current high rate of growth of the silicone industry. In Western Europe silicone elastomers dominate with over 4075, followed by silicone oils and associated products with ca. 30% and silicone resins with ca. 10% of the total consumption, whereas in the USA silicone elastomers account for only 25% and silicone oils and their associated products for ca. 65% of the total consumption. Since silicones are only partly based on petrochemical products, they are not affected to the same extent as many purely organic products by crude oil shortages and price increases. However, manufacture of the raw material silicon is very energy intensive.


Most iinportant silicone pi-oducts:

silicone oils aiid associ;ircd products silicone rubbers (clastoiiw\) silicone i-esins

Silicones are relatively indcpendenr of crude o i l

4.3.3 Linear and Cyclic Polyorganosiloxanes Manufacture The industrial production of linear and cyclic polyorganosiloxanes is generally carried out by the reaction of organodichlorosilanes with water. The oligomeric siloxanes produced by the hydrolysis are either converted into cyclic siloxanes (e.g. octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane) or to a equilibrium distribution of high molecular weight polysiloxanes by polymerization or polycondensation processes. An exception in the production of oligomeric siloxanes is the synthesis of cyclic and linear oligomeric dimethylsiloxanes from dimethyldichlorosilane using the methanolysis process This has increased in importance in recent years. By far the most important chlorosilanes, on the basis of quantity (> 90%), utilized in industrial hydrolysis and methanolysis, are the methylchlorosilanes, followed by the chlorosilanes, which contain exclusively, or in combination with methyl groups, the ligands H-, C&5-, CH*=CH- and CF3-CHz-CHz- linked to a silicon atom. Hydrolysis The complete hydrolysis of dimethyldichlorosilane leads to an oligomeric mixture, consisting of cyclic dimethylsiloxanes:

Oligomers of linear and cyclic dimethylsiloxanes by hydt-olysis o r methanolysis of diinethyldicIilon,\ilanc


4 Organo-Silicon Compounds

n (CH,),SiCl, + n H,O n = 3,4, 5 ...

+[(CH,),SiOl,, + 2n HCI

and dimethylsiloxanes with hydroxyl-end groiips:

m (CH$3C12 + (m+l) H,O+ m = 4 ... > 100 Linear siloxanes with SiCI-end groups produced by hydrolysis of chlorosilanes with a sub-stoichiometric quantity of water


The hydrolysis can, by addition of a deficit of water to the chlorosilanes (“reverse hydrolysis”), also be so carried out that linear dimethylsiloxanes with SiCI-end groups are obtained. (n+2) (CH,),SiCl, + (n+ 1) H 2 0+ C1(CH,)2SiO[(CH,)2SiO]nSi(CH,)2CI + 2 (n+ I ) HCl

Industrially: hydrolysis carried out continuously either in the liquid phase or with steam in the gas phase

Hydrolysis process with appropriate silane mixtures produces organosiloxanes with silicon- and organo-functional groups.

Complete hydrolysis (excess water) is either carried out continuously in the liquid phase with ca. 25% hydrochloric acid or in the gas phase at temperatures of c;~. IOOT. In liquid phase hydrolysis cyclic or linear dimethylsiloxune oligomers are produced in the ratio 1 : I to I :2 depending upon process design. Ca. 30% hydrochloric is produced as a byproduct in liquid phase hydrolysis. This can be recycled in the Rochow process by using i t to produce chloromethane by reacting it with methanol, thereby recycling the chlorine. The ratio by weight of cyclic to linear dimethylsilox~ines, as well as the chain length of the linear oligomers, can be varied within wide limits by varying the hydrolysis conditions. Adjustment of the hydrolysis conditions to favor- cyclic or linear dimethylsiloxane oligorners is iniporcmt i n that in silicone production the manufacture o f high molecular weight polydimethylsiloxanes occurs both by equilibration polymerization and by polycondensation. In polymeri/ation cyclic oligomers are the main starting materials. whereas in polycondensation oligomers with hydroxy-end groiips are the main starting materials. These processes arc dealt with in Sections and Hydrolysis with a combination of appropriate silane mixtures produces organosiloxanes with both silicon

4.3 Siliconrs


functional groups, such as -SiH, and organo-functional groups, such as vinyl. The result of hydrolysis can to a limited extent be influenced by the addition of organic solvents. These methods are particularly important in obtaining silanolgroup-containing siloxanes, which are particularly important in the chemistry of silicone resins. In Fig. 4.3-1 a flow schema is shown for the industrial continuous hydrolysis of dimethyldichlorosilane. b


Pol ydime t hyl siloxane






Fig. 4.3-1. Continuous hydrolysis of dimethyldichlorosilane. a) cooler; b) flue gas; c ) phase separation; d) settling vessel; e) water separation; f) neutralization; g) pump. Methanolysis In recent years an industrial process for si loxane production from dimethyldichlorosilane has been introduced, which is known as “methanolysis” and which enables the recycling of the chlorine contained in the methylchlorosilanes as chloromethane, which is utilized in the direct synthesis process. The reaction taking place, depends upon whether the siloxane required is linear with a hydroxy-end group or is cyclic, according to the following equations:

n (CH3)2SiC12+ 2n CH,OH+ n (CH3)2SiC12+ 2n CH,OH


HO-[(CH3),SiO],H 2n CH3C1+ (n-1) H 2 0 [(CH,),SiO], + 2n CH3CI + n H 2 0

Reaction ofdimethyldichlo~osila~~e will1 it,^ excess of methanol leads to siloxanc. oligomers and chloroinc~hanc.which cat1 be utilized in the direct hynthcsih pi-oce\\ (chlorine recycling)

3 10

4 Orguno-Silicon Compounds

Dimethylether is produced as a byproduct. which depending upon the process variant is removed or converted into chloromethane by reaction with hydrochloric acid in the main reactor. Cyclization Reaction of siloxane oligoiners with potassium hydroxide results in easy to separate and easily purifiable octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane

The manufacture of pure octamethylcyclo~etrasilox~unc ( D4) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (Ds), which arc either marketed as such or are used as raw materials in the production of polydimethylsiloxanes by thc polynicrization process, is carried out by the so-called cyclization process. The hydrolysis or methanolysis product is heated i n a suspension of potassium hydroxide and an inert liquid ( c g . mineral oil). This method is chosen to hinder polymerization of the siloxanes to highly viscous liquids. The potassium hydroxide catalyzes an equilibrium reaction in which the Si-0-Si bonds are cleaved and newly made (equilibration). Since in this process thc, by comparison with the linear siloxanes, more volatile octaimethylcyclotetrasiloxane and decamethylcyclopcnta-siloxane are continuously distilled off from the siloxane mixture. the equilibriuin is shifted i n a direction favoring the desired cyclic siloxane thereby enabling all of the siloxane to be so converted. Polymerization Polymerization of cyclosiloxane oligomers by equilibration both anionically (with bases) and cationically (acids)

Equilibrium polymerization, which can be anionic or cationic, is utilized to convert cyclic organosiloxanes into polydiorganosiloxane polymer chains. In the chemical industry octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane is preferred a s such, or as a mixture with other siloxanes for chain termination and/or production of copolymers for specific applications. Particularly industrially important is anionic polymeihtion with basic catalysts such as alkali hydroxides, whereby the activity falls off in the order Cs > Rb > K > Nu > Li. KOH is most frequently used e.g. as ;I suspension in octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane at 1 40°C, the catalyst being active from a concentration of several ppm. According to the assumed mechanism of this catalytic process, potassium siloxanolate is initially formed, which leads to cleavage of the Si-0-Si bonds and chain formation:

4.3 Silic~ot1e.S


0 0 I / (CH3)2Si-O-Si(CH3)2 (D4) (CH3)&-O-Si(CH3),

I 0 I

1 O-K+




r HO - s,i



o -J-si

o - si - 0-K+ I CH3

CH3 4nt2

In the presence of water, the siloxanolate forms hydroxyl-group terminated polydimethylsiloxane chains with the liberation of KOH, whereupon the molecular weight distribution, depending upon the amount of water added, approximates to a Poisson-distribution. If a mixture of trimethylsiloxy-containing siloxanes (e.g. MD,M) is added, permethylated polymethylsiloxanes (the so-called M-oils) with different chain lengths are obtained depending upon the amount of added regulator. When the polymerization is complete, the polymer i s stabilized by neutralizing the alkaline catalyst. Cationic polymerization of cyclosiloxanes is carried out with strong protonic or Lewis acids. Industrially important catalysts of this type are perfluoroalkanesulfonic acids and/or sulfuric acid (HzS04). In another form of acid catalysis, the polymerization of cyclic and linear siloxanes i s carried out on acidic solids such as ion exchange resins and acid-activated silicates (heterogeneous catalysis). This process also leads to an equilibrium mixture of linear polysiloxanes with a content

3I I

3 12

4 Ovgano-Silicon Compounds

of cyclic siloxanes of ca. 15 to 18 5% by weight, the latter being separated distillatively and returned to the polymerization process. Polycondensation

Treatment of linear siloxane oligomerj with OH-end groups with acid catalysts (PNCI?) does not result in equilibrating high molecular weight ailoxanes

Linear short-chain dimethylsiloxanes (oligomers) from hydrolysis or methanolysis processes are utilized as the starting material in the manufacture of polydiorganosiloxanes by polycondcnsation. I!' linear siloxane polymers are required, diinethyldichlorosilane with a high purity is necessary, since distillative processing of siloxane diols is not possible due to their tendency to condensation (with cleavage of water). Polycondensation is carried out discontinuously or continuously in the presence of acid catalysts, preferably phosphonitrile chlorides (PNCIz),. The removal of the water liberated in the polycondensation process is achieved by operating the process at high temperatures and optionally under vacuum. Deactivation of the catalyst is carried out with ammonia or amines. Thc polycondensation process of siloxane diols, which is preferably carried out under vacuum, is very fast (see Fig. 4.3-2, curve a). In a combined polycondensation/polymerization process in the presence of chain length regulating short chain R(CH3)2SiO-terminated dimethylsiloxanes ( R = CH3, CHCH2, H) the viscosity passes through a clear maximum (see Fig. 4.3-2, curve b), whereas using short chain siloxanols this viscosity maximum is avoided (see Fig. 4.32, curve c).





f , min


Fig. 4.3-2. Polycondensation - equilibration of siloxane diols. Industrial Realization of Polymerization For small product quantities. the polymerization of siloxane oligomers is carried out in mixing tanks in which batches of up to IS t can be easily managed. The manufacture of larger quantities is realized in continuous plants. The technical requirements of the process steps: purification and drying of the starting materials dosing of catalyst and regulator realization of equilibrium /condensation neutralization oligomer separation/return of distillate depend upon the type of polymerization reaction. The different technical requirements for different types of polymerization reaction are summarized in Table 4.3- I .

3 14

4 Organo-Silicon Compounds

Table 4.3-1. Characteriztics of Polymerizalion Procr\ser. D4






( P N C'I: 1,

quantity of catalyst, ppin

5 - 20

100 - 1000

starting material

polymeriation time, min

I0 - 90

reaction temperature, "C

140 - 180


IS - 30 20





I0 - I 0

30 - I60








neutralization agent




non-volatile oligomers. %


Taking into account the variants, essentially five plant concepts for carrying out the polymerization have prevailed: single stage polymerization units mixing tank cascade screw extruder cell reactor (mixing reactor with spiral mixers which approximate to a plug flow) solid-(catalyst)-reactor

4.3.4 Manufacture of Branched Polysiloxanes Manufacture of branched poly(organosi loxanes):

I a t step: hydrolysis of a (ch1oro)organosilane mixture, which contain (trich1oro)organosilanes 2nd step:thermal polycondensation The hydrolysis can he so controlled, that organosiloxanes are produced containing CI-Si- and RO-Si-goups in addition to HO-Si-groups, which not only react with each other to silicone resins, hut also react e.g. with HO-functional poly(ethera)

Branched poly(orgaiiosi1oxanes) such as those. for example, in silicone resins are manufactured using processes basically similar to those used for linear poly(organosiloxanes), but with the difference that the (0rgano)chlorosilane mixture contains (organo)trichlorosilane as a branching component. The first reaction step, hydrolysis, can be performed in two ways namely by adding excess chlorosilanes to the water o r by addition of water to the chlorosilane mixture. In the latter case the reaction can be so controlled that the hydrolysis is incomplete, forming siloxanes with chlorosiloxy-end groups. Siloxanes with silicon-functional chloro-groups are important starting materials for copolymer compounds. for example with polyethers (see Section 4.4.5), which are utilized, for example, as polyurethane foam-stabilizers. Direct hydrolysis, which is fundamental to the production of some silicone resins, is mainly used nith methyltrichlorsilane, phenyltrichlorosilane and diphenyldichlorosilane and is generally carried out i n the presence of

4.4 Industrial Silicone Procliicts

a solvent, such as xylene, and higher alcohols, such as nbutanol. The resulting cohydrolysate has silanol and alkoxysilyl-groups and can be converted into the final product by thermal polycondensation. The siliconfunctional hydroxy- and alkoxy-groups can, however, also react with hydroxy-functional organic resins, such as polyesters or alkyd resins with the cleavage of water or alcohol to form combination resins. (see Sections 4.4.4 and 4.43. In indirect hydrolysis/alcoholysis the silicone resin synthesis can be so controlled that only alkoxysilyl-end groups are formed. These resins are very stable to yellowing due to further condensation reactions. In indirect hydrolysis hydrogen chloride is formed which can be further utilized. Direct hydrolysis is generally carried out discontinuously in mixing tanks. Indirect hydrolysis/alcoholysis can be carried out in a continuous process. The industrial plant used is similar to that for the production of alkoxysilanes (see Section ).

4.4 Industrial Silicone Products A wide range of silicone products are manufactured using the above-mentioned processes. The most important product groups are described below on the basis of their chemical structure, their properties and their applications.

4.4.1 Silicone Oils The industrially most important silicone oils are the a,@ trimethylsilylpoly(dimethylsiloxanes), although these polymers can also contain methylphenylsiloxy- or diphenylsiloxy-groups. Silicon oils are manufactured in a viscosity range of S mPa . s to 1 . loh mPa . s. They exhibit setting points between -60 and -35°C. By comparison with mineral oils, the viscosity of silicone oils changes little with temperature. They are thermally stable, low volatility products (from ca. 50 mPa . s) exhibiting long term stability at 150°C in air and even up

Silicone oils:


r 1


3 I5

3 16

4 Orguno-Silicon Compounds

Viscosities: from I to 10" mPa . s Properties of silicone oils: setting point: -60 to -35°C little change in viscosity with temperature thermal stability high \pecific resistance low surface tension lack of smell or taste physiologically inert

Application of silicone oils: heat transfer medium lubricant hydraulic oils trancformcr oils brake fluids tlow improver gloss improver defoaming agent mold release agent constituent of skin cream\ and protective polishes

to 200°C in closed systems. Phenyl-group-containing silicone oils exhibit even lower setting points and an even better thermal stability. Silicone oils havc good electrical insulating properties, the specific rcsistaincc of a polydimethylsiloxane oil being l o i 4Qcm and the dielectric breakdown strength being 14 kV/nim. Furthermore, they exhibit low surface tensions: ca. 21 mN/m (I'or medium viscosity silicone oils). They also lack smell and taste and are virtually physiologically inert, feeding experiments with animals and skin tests not resulting i n irritation or pathological symptoms. However, in eyes they cause slight, mainly conjunctival, irritation. Silicone oils are utilized in inany sectors in which they must fulfill different requirements. Their good thermal stability and the weak dependence of their properties upon temperature lead to their utilization a s heat transfer media, lubricants, hydraulic oils, brake fluids and dielectric fluids e.g. transformer oils. Their low surface tension results in their utilization in the paint industry as tlow, gloss and finish improvers. Silicone oil additives enable effect paints to be formulated such as moire effect paints. Their surface and interfacial activity enables their use as defoaining agents and a s foam stabilizers for poly(urethane) foams. Pure silicone oils are used as defoming agents in the crude oil industry. In the rubber and plastics industry they are widely used as mold release agents. Their physiological inertness enables their use in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Their water repelling (hydrophobic) properties result in skin creams with good protective properties. The hydrophobic properties of sil iconc oils endow car, furniture and protective polishes with protective and non-aggressive properties.

4.4.2 Products Manufactured from Silicone Oils Silicone Oil Emulsions Applications of cilicone oil emiil5ions: mold release agent deaeration agent hydrophobizing and bulking of fahrics defoaming agent (silica-containing emulsions)

Aqueous silicone oil emulsions can be producccl from silicone oils, as well as polymethylhydroger~sil~~x~itie~ with trimethylsiloxy-end groups, in the viscosity range around 1000 mPa . s in emulsifying equipment (c.g. hal'fle-ring pumps), preferably using nonionic eniulsil'it'rs. The amounts of silicone oil in these emulsions vary between 3

4.4 Industrid Silicone Protlrrct.s

3 I7

and SO o/o by weight. Silicone emulsions are used as mold release and deaeration agents in the manufacture of tires. Emulsions with H-Si-group-containing silicones are utilized in large quantities in the textile industry for hydrophobizing and bulking fabrics. If polydimethylsiloxane oils are emulsified together with fine particulate solids, e.g. fumed silicas, very effective defoaming agents are obtained for aqueous media e.g. for the production of' aqueous organic polymer dispersions and for dyeing processes in the textile industry. Silicone Pastes and Greases

Silicone oils can be converted into pastes by incorporating large quantities of highly dispersed silicas or calcium or lithium soaps, These products are utilized as sealants and specialty greases.

Silicone pasteh and greil,cs ,)rclducetl by the incorporation of highly dispel-wd Silica O r Ca- Or Li-soap\ 111 S i l i C O l l e 0 1 1 \

4.4.3 Silicone Rubbers Among the silicone rubbers there are different product groups which differ in their crosslinking mechanism and application areas. Room Temperature Vulcanizable Single Component Silicone Rubbers The reactlon of a polydiniethylsiloxane with hydroxygroups at either end with an excess of a silane, which as does methyltriacetoxysilane, at least three hydrolyzable silicon-functional groups (a crosslinking agent), results in a silicone polymer with at least four silicon-functional end groups: -


p o ~ y ~ l o l g ~ l I\~ 1111 o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ x ~

hydroxy-group\ at both ciid\ uith crosslinking agents in thc presence 01 fillers and Sn-organic coinpoiiiida ;I\ ca,alyhl Ic;,ds to

teinperature vulcani/cil \ilicoi~cruhhcl

3 18

4 Organo-Silicon Compounds


ti i


HO Si-0 H + 2 CH3-Si-(-OCCH3)3







0 The rewlting silicon-functional PolYsiloxane is stable during storage in the absence of moisture e.g. after filling in a cartouche.

Hardening takes place with humidity in the air




Such silicone polymers are stable upon storage i n the absence of moisture, e.g. filled in a closed cartouche.. Upon contact with moisture, e.g. humidity i n the air, hydroxygroups are formed at either end of the polymer chain with the cleavage of acetic acid, which react, e.g. with one another with the cleavage of water, to form ;I crosslinked rubber-elastic material. The crosslinking starts at the surface and then spreads into the mass as the moisture diffuses into the polymer. In industrial single component silicone rubbers, polydimethylsiloxanes with viscosities between SO00 and 100 000 mPa . s and hydroxy-groups at either end are utilized. To improve the mechanical properties of the resulting silicone rubber, strengthening fillers, preferably highly dispersed silicas, have to added in concentrations of 1 to 10 % by weight as well as non-strengthening extender fillers. Up to 30% of a trimethylsiloxy-terminated polydimethylsiloxane and silicone oil are generally incorporated to obtain sufficiently soft silicone rubber after crosslinking. Tin compounds, such as dibutyl-tin dilaurate, are generally incorporated to accelerate the conclensation hardening process. The silane crosslinker contains a wide range 01‘ rcactive substituents e.g. amino-, carboxy-, carbonamido-, oxirne-, carbonyl- and/or alkoxy-groups.

4.4 lndustrial Silicone Prorlucts

Most of the room temperature crosslinking silicone rubbers are utilized for filling holes in buildings e.g. socalled expanding fillers, in the sanitary sector and for the sealing of windows. In addition they are used as adhesives for heat-resistant bonds and, for example, formed in place gaskets, particularly in the automobile industry.

3 19

Applications of singlc coinpoiicnt roo111 temperature vulcani/ahlc \ilicoiie ruhhcr\: a\ a filler in: - the building sectoi- t h e unitary sector - the installation of witidow\ - the automobile indu\lry iis an adhesive l o r heal-resi\tant hi)iitl\ and for ga\kets Two Component Room Temperature Vulcanizable Silicone Rubbers With room temperature vulcanizable two-component silicone rubbers, the polymer and the crosslinking component are mixed immediately before application. Two different crosslinking systems are used, one based on polycondensation and the other on polymer addition. In polycondensation systems, a poly(dimethy1siloxane) with hydroxy end-groups at either end and a viscosity of 10’ to lo5 mPa . s is crosslinked with tetraalkoxysilanes, e.g. tetraethoxysilane, in the presence of a condensationaccelerating tin compound e.g. dibutyltin dilaurate. Since this hardening, in contrast with single component products, is not dependent upon water diffusion through the hardening mass, thick layers of such rubber systems can be crosslinked quickly and homogeneously. In polyaddition systems the polymer component is a poly(dimethylsi1oxane) with methylvinylsiloxy, trimethylsiloxy or vinyldimethylsiloxy end-groups with a similar viscosity to that of the condensation system. These polymers are crosslinked by a hydrosilation reaction with a poly(dimethy1-siloxane), containing on average three methylhydrogensiloxy-groups and having trimethylsiloxy or dimethylhydrogen-siloxy end-groups. Platinum or platinum compounds, such as hexachloroplatinic acid, are used in ppm quantities as the catalyst, the reactions being carried out at room temperature or at temperatures just above room temperature. Room temperature hardenable vulcanizable twocomponent silicone rubbers are usually formulated as flowable materials. They contain reinforcing and extending fillers. Their flowability means that they are able to flow into the finest details of the to be reproduced item. After vulcanization a negative mold is produced, which is complete reproduction of the original in all its detail. This technology is utilized for the restoring and duplication of

Room temperature h;trdcriahlc IWOcomponent rubbers arc crossliiikahlc h>: polycondensation polyaddition

By polycondenhation of cro\\liiik;ihlc systems consisting of: poly(dimethylsi1ox;iiie) with HO-proup at either end tetraalkoxysilanes 01 their conden\;i~ioii product$ with as cros\linkiiig agciil filler organo-tin compouiitl\ a\ c o i i c l e ~ i ~ ~ ~ ~ i ~ i i i cata1y\ts

By polyaddtion crossliiihing sy\tem\ consisting of: vinyl group-containins poly(inethyl\iloxaiic\) H-Si-group containin: poly(methy1siloxaiic~) filler Pt-compound\ a s c:italy.;ts

Applications of tlowahlc room tcmpcl-;i~tire vulcanizing two-compoiicnt \) \tcm\: molding compound for encapsulating elcclronic coml~iinciit\

4 Organo-Silicon Compounds


Filler free material, optionally in solution, for coating paper and plastic foil

external structured concrete components. In the furniture industry replicas of ornamental pieces of furniture are produced and in dentistry precise reproduction of the configuration of teeth is possible using this technology. In the electronic industry their flowability combined with good insulating properties are utilized for cncapsulating electronic components and for the manufacture of so-called cable-end pieces. Filler-free formulations of two-componcnt silicone rubbers crosslinkable by condensation or addition are utilized, with or without added solvent, for the coating of papers and plastic foil, optionally as an aqueous emulsion, e.g. for strippable paper for self-adhesive labels or packaging foil for bitumen. Vulcanimtion is carried out at high temperature (100 to 180°C), to attain as short hardening times as possible. Hot Vulcanizable Peroxide Crosslinkable Silicone Rubbers Hot vulcanizable silicone rubber: consists of long-chain, generally vinylgroup-containing poly(methylsiloxanea) and fillers croaslinked with organic peroxides produced with kneaders, rollers, extruders

Hot vulcanizable silicone rubbers generally consist of very long chain (with viscosities of lo6 to lo7 mPa . s), usually vinylmethylsiloxy-group-containing, poly(di methyl-siloxanes) with trimethylsiloxy- and/or vinyldimethylsiloxy endgroups and highly dispersed fumed silica ( I 0 to 35% by weight). The vinyl-group content, which, in uddition to crosslinking over two methyl groups, has ii considerable influence on the crosslink density, is very low (< 1% with respect to moles of siloxy-groups). Crosslinking proceeds with organic peroxides, e.g. dicumylperoxidc or dichlorobenzoyl-peroxide, at high temperatures, hence the term “hot vulcanizable silicone rubber”. The silicone rubber mixtures are produced by the kneaders, rollers and extruders typical of the rubber industry. Hot Vulcanizable Addition Crosslinkable Silicone Rubbers Hot vulcanizable silicone rubber can also be crosslinked by a hydrosilation reaction. Advantage: n o decomposition product? of the organic aeroxides C


Instead of using organic peroxides, the crosslinking of very long (lo6 to lo7 mPa . s) vinyl-containing high tcmperature vulcanizable silicone rubber can be realized by. ;I .platinumcatalyzed hydrosilation reaction in which a poly(dimethy1siloxane) has to be added with at least three methylhydrogensiloxy-groups. They have the advantage over per-

4.4 Iridustrial Silicone Products

oxide systems, that no potentially interfering organic peroxide-decomposition products are formed. They are generally two component systems. Hot vulcanizable two-component silicone rubber is also available as so-called liquid silicone rubber (LSR). Such viscosities enable their use in injection molding machines, similar to those used in the plastics industry. Their lower viscosity compared with conventional hot temperature vulcanizable rubbers is realized in part by the use of shorter polymer chain lengths and in part by using highly dispersed reinforcing silica filler whose surface has undergone trimethylsilation e.g. by utilizing hexamethyl-disilazane in the compounder process for LSR-manufacture. In this way the excellent mechanical and thermal properties are retained. A pump and a blender, generally a static blender, are directly linked to the injection molding machine. Hot vulcanizable silicone rubbers can be processed in two different ways: either by extrusion to tubing or cables or by molding to so-called molded articles, such as, for example, crankshaft seals and membranes. High viscosity hot vulcanizable silicone rubber is exclusively used for extrusion articles, extruders typically used in the rubber industry being employed in their processing. Molded articles, which are conventionally manufactured in presses with high viscosity rubber, have been recently manufactured in automatic injection molding machines using liquid silicone rubber, which enables the mass production of silicone rubber components with short cycle times. Silicone rubber tubes are mainly utilized in medical and food technology e.g. as transfusion tubes, catheters and tubes for drinks. Silicone cables are widely utilized in applications for which thermal stability, weathering resistance and chemical resistance are required e.g. baking ovens, hot lamps and electrical connections for electrical motors and transformers. Molded silicone rubber articles are generally utilized as seals for equipment running at high temperatures e.g. as crankshaft seals in internal combustion engines or for headlight and gearbox seals. The physiological inertness of silicone rubber enables its use in the manufacture and packaging of food, as disposable articles for contact with the body e.g. teats for babies and implants in the human body, e.g. artificial heart valves. Furthermore, optically clear silicone rubber can be used for contact lenses, which are characterized, as are all

32 1

Liquid silicone rubber can be pi-oce\\ed in in-jection molding machines used for plastics

Processing of hot vulcanirable silicone rubber by: molding to molded articles i n presses extrusion to tubing and cables in extruders

Applications of hot vulcani/able silicone rubbers: silicone rubber tubing in inedical and food technology cables in the electrical industry

molded articles such as seals e.g. automobile industry implants in the human body contact lenses




4 Orguno-Silicon Compounds

silicone rubbers, by high oxygen permeabi lity. but whose surfaces have to be hydrophilic. Properties of Silicone Rubber Propertie\ of silicone rubbers: continuously stressable at temperatures between -SO and + 180°C rubber mechanical properties hardly change between room temperature and 180°C: - Shore A hardnesses between 30 and 70 - tensile strengths up to 12 N/mrn' tear strengths up to 45 N/mm good insulation characteristics can be made electrically conducting by incorporating carbon black can be made difficultly flammable and self-extinguishing by adding platinum coinpounds ~

Silicone rubbers exhibit excellent thermal stability. Their elastomeric properties hardly change during several thousand hours in hot air at 180°C. Their elastornenc properties at 180°C are almost as good as [hose at room temperature. Silicone rubbers thus exhibit markedly better tensile strength at 180 t o 200°C than organic rubbers, which exhibit 2 to 3 times the tensile strength of silicone rubbers at room temperature. The best elastomenc properties are achieved with hot vulcani/able silicone rubbers. Shore A hardnesses between 30 and 70 can be realized, tensile strengths up t o 12 N/inm2 and tear strengths (according to ASTM 624B) of up to 45 N/mrn. The hardness of silicone rubbers remains almost unchanged down to ca. -50°C and therelore they are usable in the unusually wide temperature range of -50 to +180°C (for short periods up to 300°C). Silicone rubbers exhibit good stability to chemicals except for strong acids, strong bases and chlorine. Under normal environmental conditions they are stable for decades. Silicone rubbers are good insulators both at room temperature and at high temperatures and can be made electrically conducting by the incorporation of carbon black. They can be made flame-resistant and selfextinguishing by adding platinum compound. In the case of fire, hardly any toxic products are formed. except for carbon oxides, non-conducting layers of silicon dioxide being formed with a certain mechanical strength. After burning, silicone rubber cables are still insulating to a certain extent.

4.4.4 Silicone Resins Silicone resins are branched polysiloxanes. Hardening proceeds by polycondensation at high temperatures

Pure silicone resins are poly(organ()siloxalles)with a high proportion of branching, i .e. tri -or tet ra-fu nct ional siloxy groups together with di- and optionally mono-functional siloxy groups.

4.4 Industrial Silicone Products

Liquid silicone resins or silicone resin solutions are generally fully condensed by several hours heating (curing) at 180 to 250°C to a highly crosslinked solid. The thermally stable coatings formed, particularly if phenyl groups are present, do not lose their transparency, gloss or elasticity even at 200 to 250°C. They are also hydrophobic and extremely weather resistant. Methyl- and methylphenyl-resins are utilized as raw materials for paints, binders and in building preservation. In the electrical industry they are utilized as electrically insulating lacquers (wire enamel) and for the bonding of glass filaments or mica insulating materials. Special meltable solid resins are flow aids in the injection molding of porcelain matrices. Corrosion protection-stoving enamels are produced upon pigmentation with zinc dust. These are utilized for the enameling of components which operate at high temperatures e.g. metal chimneys. Silicone-polyester combination resins, which belong to the group of silicone polymers, are raw materials for thermally stable stoving enamels. They are utilized for decorative lacquers for cooking and roasting utensils, for heating apparatuses and cookers. Very weather resistant stoving lacquers based on silicone combination resins are also known e.g. for coil coating of metallic plates for facades. Special silicone resins incorporating particles several nanometers in size (e.g. special silicas) are utilized as optically transparent scratch-resistant lacquers. Diluted solutions or emulsions of silicone resins are utilized in the preservation of buildings providing moisture protection and in combination with silicic acid esters as sandstone solidifiers.


Silicone resin coatings are: thermally stable resistant to weathering hydrophobic

Applications of silicone resins as: paint raw materials and binders for e.g.: - electrically insulating lacquers - corrosion protection lacquers, pigmented with zinc dust - thermally stable stoving enamels for decorative purposes - coil coating of metallic plates for facades - rendering plastic scratch resistant

protection of building: - for hydrophobizing building materials and house facades - sandstone hardening in Combination with silicic acid esters

4.4.5 Silicone Copolymers, Block Copolymers and Graft Copolymers The properties of silicones can be modified by combination with organic polymers. Block copolymers of poly(organ0siloxanes) and poly(ethers) as well as thermoplasticmodified silicones are industrially important, in addition to silicone combination resins.

The properties of silicones can be vaned with Organic polymers by


4 Organo-Silicon Compounds

Poly(et1iersiloxanes) result from c.g reaction of branched (chloro)dimethyl~iloxy-terminated poly(methylsi1oxanes) with poly(ether\) having a hydroxy-group at one end addition of poly(ethers) terminated at one end with an unsaturated group to HSi-containing poly(methylsi1oxanes)

Poly(ethersi1oxanes) are utilized as: poly(urethane)-foam srabilizers antifoaming agentc aids in the textile industry

Thermoplastic-modified silicones are produced by polyrneriLation of monomers, such as styrene, in the presence of pol ysiloxanes

Polyfethersiloxanes) contain ;I poly(mL.thylsiloxane) polymer, which may be branched, and poly(ether)-blocks. Its structure may be linear or comblike. The blocks are connected by Si-0-C- or Si-C- bridges. Si-0-C- linked products can, for example, bc produced by reacting branched dimethyl(ch1oro)siloxy-terminated poly(methy1siloxanes) (see Section 4.3.3) with monohydroxyfunctional poly(ethers. Si-C- linked polyethersiloxancs can be obtained by adding poly(ethers) with unsaturated end-groups to methylhydrogensiloxy-containing poly( inethylailoxanes). Polyethersiloxanes have surfactant propcrlies. They are utilized in large quantities as fitam stabilixrs in the manufacture of polyurethane hard and so1'1 foams, the polyether component for this application being a copolymer of ethene oxide and propene oxide. Polyethcrsiloxanes are, however, also used in antifoaming formulations, as a gloss and deaeration additive in paints and as textile auxiliaries. Thermoplastic-modified siloxanes are produced by polymerization of monomers such as styrene, methyl methacrylate or vinyl acetate in the presence of e.g. a,& dihydroxy-poly(dimethylsi1oxane). The reaction can be so controlled that the thermoplastic particles are formed as rods. These, depending upon their type and quantity, determine the mechanical properties of the vulcanized silicone resin obtained via crosslinking 01' the silicone component. Such products are utilized i n the porcelain, electric. electronic and metal industries.

References for Chapters 4.3 and 4.4: Silicones Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1993. 5 . Ed., Vol. A 24, 57 - 93, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Noll, W. 1968. C h ~ ~iind i e Terhnologir der Silicone, 2. Aufl., Verlag Chemie, Weinheim. Ackermann, J., Damrath, V. 1989. ChiuL 86 - 99. Reutlier, H . 198I . Silicone - Einr Einjiihrihrung in Eigenschqfrrn, Trchnologirn urzd AnW'rJZfhZ,LyJ7,VEB Deutscher Verlag fur Grundstoffind., Leip7ig.

555 Polmanteer. K. E. 19x8. / / ~ I J I ~ / I O OofA /,~/~~\/orner.c., 615, M. Dekker Inc., Ncw Yoih. Trego. B. R., Winnan, H. W . I Y W . RAI'IZA Review Rep., Vol.3, 1 - 3 1 , Hardrnan, B. , Torkleson. A , 1980. Encyclopedia Polyrn. Sci. A Eng, 204 - 3OX. J o h n Wiley & S t m , New York. ~I~, Buchner, W. 19x0. N o i d A \ p w / \ o/ S I / [ U ~Chemisrry, J . Organomet. Chem. Kcv. 9, 409 - 13 I

Industrial inorganic Chemistry Karl Heinz Bbchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto & Peter Woditsch copyright0 WlLEY VCH Verldg GmbH, 2MlO

5 Inorganic Solids

5.1 Silicate Products 5.1.1 Glass The art of glass-making is about 5000 years old. The first marked technological improvement was the discovery of the glass-maker's blowing iron, probably in the 2nd Century BC. It is still one of the tools used in the manufacture of special glass products. The mass production of glass dates from the introduction of mechanical glass production and processing at the end of the last century. Economic Importance The worldwide production of glass in 1995 was 9.9 . loh tJa, of which about half was produced in Asiatic States, 15% in the USA and ca. 18% in Western Europe. Since 1992 glass production has again increased slightly after the ca. 10% annual fall in production from ca. 15 . lo6 t/a in 1986 to ca. 9.1 . lo6 t/a in 1992. This was due to the worldwide recession, increased glass recycling and a partial shift from glass to plastic bottles. The production of hollow glass (bottles, containers, light bulbs, glass crockery) is about 1.5 times that of flat glass (window glass, mirror glass), although this ratio varies considerably from country to country. Special glasses (e.g. optical glass) are insignificant as regards quantity, but amount to 10% in value. Structure

Worldwide gln\s production in 199s: ca. 9.9 . 10" t/a. o f which 40%' i \ flat ylass and 60% is hollow gl:is\ Glass production declined at ca. IOc% annually betwccn I O X h and 1992 due to recession, increa\ed I-ccycling and substitution Special glasses insignil.icant in quantity, but account for 10% ol the value


5 Inorgunic Solids

crystals is absent in glasses. The former explanation of the discontinuous changes in the propcrtics of glasses based on the microcrystalline hypothesis typical of crystalline phases, has today been largely supplanted by the network hypothesis drawn up by W. U. Zachariasen in 1933. According to this hypothesis glasses are built up of three dimensional networks without the regular arrangement present in crystals. The arrangement of structural elements of glass with respect to their nearest neighbors, is largely that of atoms in crystalline structures (short range order). This hypothesis for silicate glasses is supported by the silicon-oxygen-silicon bonding angle distribution in the short range bonding of quartL glass determined in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which covers ;I considerably wider range than in crystalline quart/.. The following rules pertaining to the structure of glasses can be derived from the network hypothesis: each oxygen atom may not be linked to more than two cations. the number of oxygen atoms i n the neighborhood of a cation must be 5 4. the oxygen polyhedrons are only connected with one another at the corners, the lowest number of bonds being 3, to form a three dimensionnl network. Glass Composition

Network formers Si02 Ge02 BzOi

Network-modifier5 Liz0 Na?O

NaO GazO?












SnO? PbOz

Amphoteric cations AI2O3 PbO Be0 ZnO CdO Ti02 ZrOz Tho2

The preferred conditions for thc formation of the glass state are determined by both geometrical and energetic considerations and can be derived from the bonding enthalpies and the melting point, glass formation being probable with higher bonding enthnlpies and low system melting points. Examples are B 2 0 3 and the system CaO‘4120.1. The oxides, which form the network necessary for glass formation, are known as network-formers and are characterized by bonding enthalpics for cation-oxygen bonding greater than 335 kJ/niol. The ions, which through lower connectivity degrade or change the network are known as network-modifying ions. I n addition there are a range of amphoteric cations, which. depending upon the glass type, can be network-forming or networkmodifying.

The network-modifying cations occupy interstitial spaces in the network. The network expands (e.g. with K+ ions) or contracts (e.g. with Li+ ions) depending upon the number and size of these cations. Almost all industrially manufactured glasses are silicate glasses. Their structural unit is the silicon-oxygen tetrahedron, in which a silicon atom is tetrahedrally surrounded by oxygen atoms. The tetrahedra are connected to one another over common corners i.e. an oxygen atom belongs jointly to two tetrahedra. In pure Si02-glass, quartz glass, numerous oxygen atoms are bridging-oxygens. By incorporating other components, e.g. alkali oxide, these bonds are broken and singly bonded non-bridging oxygens are produced. Quartz glass is the only industrially utilized single component glass. It has excellent dielectric and chemical properties, a very low expansion coefficient, a high temperature stability and an exceptionally high transparency to UV-light. It is chemically resistant except to fluoride ions and strong alkali. Quartz is difficult to produce, temperatures above 2000°C being required. Translucent fused quartz (fused silica) can be used where transparency is unimportant. Since in translucent fused quartz the quartz is only sintered together, it contains air bubbles which make it non-transparent. The conventional multi-component glasses contain alkali and alkaline earth ions and frequently also aluminum oxide, boric oxide and other oxide components, depending upon the particular application. They can be remelted and processed at much lower temperatures than quartz. Network-formers also act as a flux, their flux activity increasing with their polarizability. Thus, K20 is a better tlux than Li20. Incorporation of aluminum oxide improves the temperature stability of glasses. Since A102- can be incorporated in the Si02-tetrahedron network without the cation necessary for charge compensation, non-bridging sites are produced. Boric oxide acts mainly as a tlux and leads to lower melting temperatures. In contrast to alkali oxides, it only slightly increases the thermal expansion coefficient and improves the chemical resistance. Therefore borosilicate glass apparatus is more frequently used in chemical laboratories.

The industrially iinportant gla\ses are based on three ditnen\ion;il SiOj-tetrahedra linked via coininon oxygen atoms. The network-modifiei-r arc tlic hole\ in the network. Incorpiiraletl ;iniphoteric ciilions can be nctwork-lt)iining o r iiclworkmodifying

excellent dielectric properties high chemical re\i\taiice very low thci-mttl cxp;in\ion coefficient high temper;it (ire \I ;I hi I i t y to UV-light very high tt;in~p~ircnc.y

Conventional gl:i\scs c(iii~ninnetwot-kmodifiers. The! .iIc tciiiclted and processed at lower tempel-;ituw t1i;iii quarti glus\.

Aluminum oxidc inipro\e\ the temperature stability. boric oxide llic chemical resi\tance as c g . i n PyIcxO: X I .O'% SiOZ, 2.0% A1?03, 0. I5'X be2() k light


5 Inorganic Solids

McMillan, P. W. 1979. Gluss-Curumics. Academic Press, New York.

Economic Information: Chemical Economica HaiitlhooL. Ian. IW6. (;/o.s.s products. 232.1000 1:-M. S m l o r d Kcsearch Institute, Menlo Park, California.

5.1.2 Alkali Silicates General and Economic Importance Alkali silicates are characterized by the weightormolarSi02 alkali oxide ratio

Classification of alkali silicates: SiOz/metai oxide I .5 to 4: water glass in solid or liquid form NalO. nSi02: crystalline silicates, e.g. metasilicate for detergents

Production worldwide in 1995, as solid glass: ca. 4 . 106 t/a

Industrially interesting alkali silicates (sodium and potassium silicates) are characterized either by the SiO' : alkali oxide weight ratio or by the SiOz : alkali oxide niolar ratio. The latter is obtained by multiplication of the weight ratio by 1.032 for sodium silicates and 1.568 for potassium silicates. Alkali silicates can be divided according to their molar SiOJmetal oxide ratio into two groups: sodium and potassium silicates with ;I molar ratio between 1.5 and 4. These silicate\ as well as their aqueous solutions are known ;is water glass. Concentrated water glass solutions arc marketed. These are either produced by dissolving solid wiiter glass or by dissolution of sand in strong alkali. solid, crystalline sodium silicates. which can contain additional water of crystallization. Coinniercial products can be described as Na20 . nSiO?, with 11 = 0.5, orthosilicate, with n = 1, metasilicate, and with n = 2, disilicate. Their main application scctors are in detergents and cleaning agents. The total worldwide production of alkali silicates in 1995 as solids was estimated to be ca. 4 . 10" tla, to which Western Europe, Japan and the USA cach contributed 0.5 . lo6 t/a. In Western Europe and the USA ca. 30% thereof is utilized in detergents, ca. 8% lor paper, c;~. 5% for the treatment of TiO, and ca. 3% for water treatment. Manufacture of Alkali Silicates Manufacture of: anhydrous alkali silicates with Si02/,netal oxide ,5 sand and alkali carbonates or hydroxides

Anhydrous alkuli silicutes with SiO?/alkali oxide 2 1 .S (solid glasses) are manufactured by reacting line particulate quartz sand, which is as pure as possible, is clay-free and has a low iron content, with alkali carbonates or hydroxides at 1300 to 1SOO"C in tank furnaces lined with refractory bricks or in rotary tube

5.1 Silicate Protlircts

e.g. Na2C0,

+ 4 SiO,


Na,O . 4 SiO,


+ CO,

The alkali silicate melt flows into casting molds in which it solidifies to transparent more or less colored lumps. Water glass solutions with SiOZ/metal oxides 2 2 are produced by dissolving these materials in water under pressure (ca. 5 bar) at ca. 150°C. The colorless, water-clear and alkali-reacting water glass solutions can be adjusted to different viscosities, their viscosity increasing with alkali silicate concentration and, at constant concentration, with increasing Si02/alkali oxide ratio. Water glass with low SiOdmetal oxide ratios can be produced by adding alkali hydroxide during the dissolution process. Aqueous solutions of alkali silicates can also be produced in an energetically favorable reaction by reacting sand with sodium hydroxide e.g. in autoclaves with stirrers under pressure and high temperatures. Of the alkali silicates with Na2O . nSi02: only sodium metasilicate, Na2Si03, with n = 1 , has industrial and commercial importance. It is either produced by melting sand with sodium carbonate in a 1 : l molar ratio or by reaction of sand with solid sodium carbonate in rotary or drum furnaces. Alkali silicate powders are produced by spray or drum drying of water glass solutions, which still contain ca. 20% water. They dissolve upon heating with a little water forming water glass solutions. Metasilicates with crystallizatiun water also have industrial importance, in particular those with 5 and 9 molecules of crystallization water. They are produced by measured addition of water to anhydrous metasilicate or by spray cooling crystallization of appropriately made up solutions.

water &I\\ solution\ with SiO?/inctal oxide 2 2 by - solution of wlitl glass 111 bate! a ( ca. 5 bar and 150°C

reaction of w i d with iiqueou\ NaOH under pressure ill high tcmpel-anures -

\odium iiietasilicate - melting of sand with \odiuiii carbonate - reaction of w i d u itli w l i t l \odium cai-bonate sodium metasilic;ife with cry\l:illiza!ion water Na?O. SiOL. x11lO x = 5 and 9 Manufacture by adding water to metasilicate or \pr-ay co(iling crystallization ( i t wlutions


5 Inorganic Solids Applications Alkali silicates utilized in: detergents and cleaning agents silicate fillers cat2alvsts zeolites silicas silica gels adhesives ore flotation water treatment in the enamel, ceramic and cement industries and in foundries chemical consolidation of ground deinking in the paper industry secondary oil recovery Potassium water glass utilired: for welding electrode-coatinjis as a binder-for cathode ray tube luminescent pigments for wall impregnation as a hinder for plasters

Alkali silicates are utilized in largc quantities in the manufacture of detergents anti clcaning agents and as starting materials in the manurxturc o f cracking catalysts for the petrochemical industry and o f silica fillers for rubbers and plastics. They are also ~iscdin the synthesis of zeolites, silica gels and silica sols, in adhesives, ;IS a binder for aqueous paints, in the flotation 01' ores. in the ceramic and cement industries, in foundries, i n water purification for flocculating impurities a n d in the chemical consolidation of ground. New applications are the utiliation 01' sodium silicate solutions in deinking (decolorimtion) processes in the paper paper _ . industry . in . - recycling to increase the efficiency of the bleaching agent H 2 0 2 and in sccotidary oil recovery. Potassium water glass solutions are mainly utilized in the production of coatings for welding electrodes, as binders for luminescent pigments used in cathode ray tubes, for impregnating walls and as a binder for plasters.

References for Chapter 5.1.2: Alkali Silicates Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1993. 5. Ed., Vol. A 23, 661 - 719, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft. Weinheim.

Dent Glnsser. L. S. 1982. S'odiifui . S i / i u i / ~ \Chemistry , in Britain 18, 33 - 39. Schweiker, G. C. Sodium ,Si/ic.u/cc t r d . S o d i w i, J . Am. Oil. Clrcin. Soc. 55, 36 - 40.

5.1.3 Zeolites Economic Importance There is little statistical data regarding the total production of zeolites. Since their market introcluction in the 1950's the capacity and consumption of ieolitcs has steadily increased. This increase has accelcratcd in rccent years due to their utilization in detergents (ace Table 5.1-1).

5.1 Silictite P t - o t l i ~ t . ~

Table 5.1-1. Capacity for the Manufacture of and Consumption of Zeolite A for Detergents in 1995 in 10’ t/a. Western Europe North America Far East consumption







522 Zeolite Types

[(M+, M2+o.5)A10~1,[Si021y . [HzOlz M+: e.g. alkali metal cations M2+:e.g. alkaline earth metal cations Zeolites (of which there are currently more than 200 types, SO of which are naturally occurring) are differentiated by the Si/AI ratio in their anionic structure. This varies between 1 (in zeolite A) and w in silicalite, an aluminumfree crystalline silica-modification. The industrially most important synthetic zeolites, apart from zeolite A, are zeolites X and Y with Si/AI ratios of 1 to 3, synthetic mordenite at ca. S and ZSM 5 at > 10. The thermal stability and acid resistance of zeolites increase as the %/A1 ratio increases. Zeolites occur in many different structures. The basic units are always SiO4- and A104-tetrahedra, linked to one another by common oxygen atoms. Fig. 5.1-5 and 5.1-6 show the structures of zeolite A and zeolite X and Y respectively, as examples of zeolite structures. These zeolites are built up of cubo-octahedra (“p-cages”) with SO4- and A104-tetrahedra at their corners, as shown in Fig. 5.1-4.

Fig. 5.1-4. Cubo-octahedra - “P-cages”

Capacity for 7eolite A detergents in 1995:

> 2.0. 1 0 h t / a

101- utiliiiition

34 1



5 Inorgunic Solids

Fig. 5.1-5. Zeolite A structure.

Fig. 5.1-6. Faujasite structure, zeolile\ X and Y.

The zeolite A structure is produced by linking the P-cages via their quadratic surfaces (over cubes). Linking over the six-corned surfaces with hexagonal p r i m \ leads to zeolite X and Y, which correspond to the minclal liiujasite. The cationic sites are not shown i n thcse figures. The complicated structure of ZSM 5 zeolite systems is characterized, see Fig. 5.1-7 by two crossing channel systems: one linear and the other zigzag.

Fig. 5.1-7. ZSM 5 structure. Repre\mtation of thc poIes

Zeolites are characterized by a system of cavities or channels in the lattice, whose volume and diameter are type specific. These cavities are connected to one another by pores, whose diameter is also type specific. Among zeolites with channels there are types: with channels running parallel to one another, which cross multidimensionally and with multidimensional non-crossing channel systems. In Table 5.1-2, the pore diameters (in m) and pore volumes (in %) are given for several types. m (A) and pore volumes ( i n ‘E) of

Table 5.1-2. Pore diameter in several Zeolite types. A



pore diameter

4. I



pore volume






7 x 6.5*: 5.6 x 5.32: 28

‘pore opening not circular inner surface area: 500 to 900 m2/g (BET)

The values in this table refer to zeolites with sodium cations. The cations are mobile in the lattice and can be exchanged. Upon exchanging sodium cations in zeolite A by potassium ions the pore diameter decreases to 0.3 nm. Cation exchange also affects other properties, such as their adsorption properties and, with appropriate cations, also their catalytic properties. In addition to the above-described aluminosilicate zeolites, a range of microporous solids have been discovered in recent years. Only the aluminophosphates, the silicoaluminophosphates, the metalaluminophosphates and meso-porous materials will be mentioned here. In this new substance class numerous new structures have been discovered including a range of structures analogous to the zeolites. A further extension of the zeolite family over and above the aluminosilicates are the so-called SiO2-rich metal silicates with zeolite structures. Particularly worthy of mention is so-called TS- 1, a titanium-containing zeolite with ZSM 5 structure, which is suitable for selective oxidation with H202.


5 Inorganic So1id.s Natural Zeolites Natural zeolites: result indirectly from volcanic activity. Large deposit5 in the USA, Japan, the former States of the USSR, South-Eastern Europe, ~ l , ~ ~is the ~ ~ i ~ ~ occurring natural zeolite


Almost SO zeolite types occur naturally, of which several have attained industrial importance. Natural zeolites result indirectly from volcanic activity. They ;ire formed by transformation of basalts, volcanic ash and , hydrothermal ~ ~ pumices and are found e.g. in basalt cavities and in large sedimentary deposits. The industrially most important natural zeolites are: clinoptilolite mordenite chabazite erionite Deposits are mainly found in the USA, Japan, the former States of the USSR, Hungary and Italy. Clinoptilolite is the most widely occurring natural 7eolitc. Manufacture of Synthetic Zeolites From Natural Raw Materials Synthetic zeolite\ can be manufactured from: natural raw materials such as kaolin the synthetic raw materials, sodium aluminate and silica (utilized as wate r glass, silica fillers, silica sols)

Zeolites, particularly zeolite A, can be manufactured from kaolinitic clays, which as particularly found in Central Europe, Great Britain, Japan, China and USA. To transform kaolin into zeolite, it has to be thermally converted, e.g. by shock heating to > SSO'C, to mctakaolin. The metakaolin is then suspended in sodium hydroxide solution and converted at 70 to 100°C into zeolite A . Some of the impurities contained in the natural raw material are retained in the final product. If amorphous silica is added, Si02-rich zeolites are produced. This process enables the transformation of preformed bodies into Leolite materials. From Synthetic Raw Materials Aluminum for the manufacture of aluminum-rich zeolites is obtained from sodium aluminate solutions, which are obtained by dissolving aluminum oxide hydrate in sodium hydroxide. Silica is used in the form o f water glass, fine particulate silica (e.g. silica fillers) or silica sols. The cheaper water glass is preferred. but exhibits the lowest activity of the above-mentioned sources of silica. The reaction has therefore to be carried o u ( in ;I special way to

5.1 Silicutc Protliicts

achieve active gels when Si02-rich zeolites are manufactured from water glass. Potassium hydroxide and, especially in the synthesis of the silica-rich ZSM range of zeolites, organic cations, such as tetra-alkylammonium cations or other organic compounds, are utilized as templates in addition to sodium hydroxide. The manufacture of the industrially important zeolite types A, X and Y is generally carried out by mixing sodium aluminate and sodium silicate solutions, whereupon a sodium aluminosilicate gel is formed. In this gel SiO2- and A1203-containing compounds pass into the liquid phase, from which the zeolites are formed by crystallization. As the zeolite growth components are removed from the solution more gel dissolves. The reaction mechanism for zeolite formation is presently not yet fully understood. There is experimental evidence that, depending upon the reaction conditions, different mechanisms are possible. In zeolite synthesis the desired zeolite end-product is generally metastable with respect to the byproducts associated with it, e.g. the byproduct sodalite is more stable than zeolite A, and the byproduct phillipsite is more stable than zeolites X and Y. Therefore different variables must be controlled during zeolite syntheses to obtain a material with optimum properties e.g.:


the stoichiometry of the reaction mixture, which is not the same as that of the zeolite formed the respecting of particular concentration ranges the respecting of particular temperatures or resulting temperatures the respecting of particular pH-values the shear energy in stirring (explained by the degradation of oligomeric structures upon stirring)

The above-mentioned variables do not play a role in all zeolite syntheses. In the manufacture of different zeolites, aging of the gel at temperatures below the crystallization is often useful. In many cases the synthesis can be influenced or accelerated by the addition of small quantities of nuclei. In the synthesis of zeolite A for utilization in detergents, for which small particles (< S pm) and a narrow particle size distribution are necessary, the manufacturing economics have been improved in recent years by optimizing all conditions. Continuous synthesis has not yet been achieved industrially.

Industrially imptrl-la111\ ;II i;ible\ in milite synti1esis are: stoichioinetr) of lhc rc;icticrn inixlt~re concentration of thc r c ; i c t ~ o ipartncrs ~ temperature shear energy iitilizctl



5 Inorganic Solids

At the end of the crystallization, the xolite formed is filtered off (e.g. with the aid of filter presses o r continuous belt filters) and washed. The mother liquor and filtrates from the washings have to be recycled or processed, for ecological and economic reasons. Modification of Synthetic Zeolites by Ion Exchange Synthesized zeolites can be niodificd by ion exchange. Exchange of sodium by potassium, anitnoniurn, calcium, barium, rare earth and metal elelments ic industrially important

The ability of zeolites to exchange the cation used in the synthesis, mainly sodium or potassium in the case of aluminum-rich zeolites depending upon the Leolite type, with other cations is very important. The exchange equilibrium depends upon the cation and zeolite type. The silver ion, for example, is particularly strongly bound, whereas the Li'-ion is much more difficult to incorporate. The extent of exchange is determined by the siLe of cation and also by the structure of the Ieolitc concerned. Exchange of sodium by potassium and calcium in zeolite A and zeolite X is industrially important. Exchange of sodium by ammonium, rare earth ions and transition metal ions such as nickel, cobalt, platinum, palladium ctc. in wide pore and medium-sized pore zeolites which are suitable for catalytic applications such as zeolite Y. Ieolite. mordenite, zeolite L or ZSM 5 , EU 1 , ZSM 22 is also industrially important. Exchange can take place on the zeolite powder as synthesized or on formed articles protluccd therefrom. Zeolites with a Si/Al-ratio > 1.7 in which cations have been exchanged for ammonium ions can be converted into a stable H-form by heating. Organic cations incorporated into SiQ-rich Ieolites during synthesis, which due to their sizc cannot be exchanged by other ions, can only bc removed by pyrolysis. Forming of Zeolites Forming of/eolite powders is, for example, possible by: granulation on granulation dishes drum granulation cxtrusion spray drying

Most applications of zeolites as adsorption agents require molded articles. They can be produced by ;I number of processes such as bead formation on dish granulators and extrusion of granules and by drum granulators, extrusion or spray drying. Clays are mainly used a s binders in the forming process, but SiOz-containing materials and aluminosilicates are also used. When silica-containing

binders are used in the forming process, they can be subsequently converted into zeolite by treatment with sodium aluminate solution at high temperatures. In this way molded articles solely containing zeolite can be obtained. When kaolin is used as a binder subsequent heating of the granules followed by treatment with sodium hydroxide enables binder-free granules to be obtained. Dehydration of Zeolites Prior to their use as adsorption agents or after industrial utilization for the adsorption of water, zeolites have to be dehydrated. This is carried out at 450 to 650°C e.g. in a rotary tube furnace or a similar unit. Industrially zeolites charged with water or other compounds are regenerated directly by passing hot dry inert gas through the absorber.

Reinoval of willcr trorrr /colik\ (“activation”) bq healing I O4-50 to 650°C Applications for Zeolites As Ion Exchangers In addition to the use of clinoptilolite for the removal of ammonium ions from municipal waste water and cesium 137 from process water, the ability of zeolite A to exchange sodium ions for calcium and, to a lesser extent, magnesium ions from aqueous solutions has acquired considerable industrial importance in the detergent sector. The replacement of ca. 50 to 100% of the tripolyphosphate (see Section in detergents by zeolite A considerably reduces phosphate release into mains drainage after passage of municipal waste water through sewage plants. To achieve the same washing power other changes in the composition of the detergent are required in addition to replacement of the phosphate. In recent years the zeolite Na PI has been increasingly used, due to several technical advantages. As an Adsorption Agent Zeolites are capable of strongly binding molecules which are small enough to penetrate their pore systems. This particularly holds for water and for other small polar and polarizable molecules and is the basis of their utilization as

Zeolites as ion cxch;irigcr\: clinoptiloli~cfor the tcn1ov;il of ainrnoniuin ions fi-oinwaslc‘ water zeolite A and N a PI in detergent\ for the i~eniovalotciilciiiiii arid inagiiesiurn from washing liquid

Zeolites as adsor-pion a y c i i ~ sI I ~ :

water reinov;il lroni p;i\es. a i r , liquid circuits and i n douhlc glniing adsorption 01 carhoii dioxide. hydrogen sulfidc. ineruptan\ Irom g;i\es purification 0 1 hyckogcn


5 Inorguaic Solids

drying- or cleaning-agents for gases such ax natural gas, cracked gases, hydrocarbons or air prior to liquefaction. This enables very low dew points to be achieved. Furthermore, they are utilized in closed liquid circuits, e.g. in refrigeration plants and refrigerators, and for preventing condensation and bulging in double-glwed windows by absorbing water and residual solvent in thc space between the panes. UtiliLation of zeolites for heat storage, i n which water is absorbed from moist air thereby heating up the zeolite and the air and the yeolite is regenerated (dehydrated) with the help of lower temperature energy, such as waste heat or solar energy, is under discussion and has been practically evaluated. In addition to the removal of water, Leolites are industrially utilized for removal of trace constituenls such as carbon dioxide, sulfur compounds, ;iniiiionia etc. from different gas mixtures. Purification of hydrogen with zeolites (Cla /colite A) in which carbon monoxide is removed with the help of PSAtechnology and ultrapure hydrogen is obtained, is industrially important. In recent years there have been attempts t o utilize SiOZ rich hydrophobic zeolites, which are obtained by intensive dealuminization (with Sic14 or ammoniuni replacement) of zeolite Y, for solvent recovery. For Separation Processes Zeolites for the separation of materials ( molecular sieves): production of oxygen of oxygenenriched air separation of n- and iso-alkanes separation of xylene isomers

Mixtures of n- and iso-alkanes can be q a r a t e d with the help of calcium-exchanged reolite A (molecular sieve effect), since only n-alkanes can penetrate into the Leolite cavities (Molex Process). In the separation of mixtures of aromatic hydrocarbon isomers, the para-isomer is generally preferentially absorbed and can be separated on the hasi\ of kinetic effects. The most well-known example is the recovery of pxylene (Parex process). The presence of cations i n the cavities o f yeolites induce high electrostatic fields. This i \ utiliLed in the oxygen enrichment of air. The nitrogen interacts with the cations (calcium exchanged zeolite A ot X and lithium exchanged zeolite X ) and is thereby inore slrongly adsorbed than oxygen. By multistage ndsorptiondesorption cycles under reduced pressure (PSA-

5. I Silicatc Prodircts

technology) i t is possible to produce up to 95% oxygen, which has widespread uses. As Catalysts Important processes in which zeolites are utilized as catalysts are: catalytic cracking of crude oil distillate for fuel manufacture, so-called FCC-plants (_Fluid Catalytic Cracking) utilizing zeolite-containing catalysts and even zeolite Y in a dealuminized or rare earth-exchanged form in a non-zeolite matrix. The catalyst is utilized in fluidized beds. The activity of the catalyst is determined by the zeolite and the matrix. H-ZSM-5 is often added to influence the product mix. alkylation of aromatic hydrocarbons, production of ethyl benzene, for which H-ZSM-5 is used. isomerization of n-paraffins to iso-paraffins for fuel purposes; noble metal-containing zeolites are utilized, isomerization of xylenes utilizes ZSM 5. hydrocracking (conversion of crude oil fractions to petrol in the presence of hydrogen) dewaxing, removal or decomposition of long-chain paraffins from crude oil fractions Worthy of mention are the numerous catalyzed reactions utilizing highly selective zeolite catalysts tailored to the particular process. However, significantly lower quantities of catalyst are utilized compared with those used in petrochemical processes. Furthermore, there are intense efforts to utilize zeolites for the catalytic purification of combustion gases from combustion engines. Miscellaneous Applications Large quantities of zeolite-containing rock is worked in different countries (including the Federal Republic of Germany in the Eifel region) and is utilized in the manufacture of cements, mortars and lightweight building blocks. In Japan, natural zeolites are used as a filler in paper. More recent applications of synthetic zeolites are e.g. in the sector of microbiocidal agents (silver zeolites), as


as cataiy\,s for catalytic crachitig (FC'C')


alkylation dewaxin:.




5 Inorgunic Solids

deodorants, as nucleation agents f o r polymers and as antiblocking agents for foils. Utilizatiotl in sensory, energy and

electroteclinical technologies and in membranes have not yet been realized.

References for Chapter 5.1.3: Zeolites Reviews: Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1996. 5. Ed., Vol. A 28, 475 - 504, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft. Weinheiin. Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1995. 4. Ed., Vol. 16, 888 925, John Wiley & Sons, New York. Puppe, L. Zeolithe. Eigerz.rchq?en und Teclinisc.he Anwendungen. 1986. Chiuz 20, I 17 - 127. Smstak, R. Hundbook q / Molecular Sieves. 1992. Van Nostrand, New York. Zeolites. A R($ned T o o l j w Designing Cutalytic Sites. 1995. Proceedings of the International Symposium, Quebec, October 15 - 20, 1995. Ed. Bonneviot, I. and Kaliaguine, S., Studies in Surface Science and catalysis 98, Elsevier, Amsterdam. Zeolites und Related Microporous Materids: State ofthe Art 1994. 1994. Proceedings of the loth International Zeolite Conference, Garmisch-Partenkirchen July 17 22, 1994. Ed. Weitkamp, J., Karge, H. G., Pfeifer, H. aiid Hiilderich, W. Studies i n Surface Science and Catalysis 84, Elsevier, Amsterdam. Biz, S. and Occelli, M. L. 1998. Catal. Rev. - Sci. Eng., 40 ( 3 ) , 329. Molecnlar Sieves, Science cind Technology. 1998. Ed. Karge, H. G. and Weitkamp, J. Vol. I , Springer-Verlag. Berlin. Synthesis of High-silicu Aluminosilicare Zeolites. 1987. Ed. Jacobs, P. A. and Martens, J. A. Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis 33, Elsevier, Amsterdam. Progress in Zeolites and Microporous Materials: 1997. Proceedings of the 1 Ith International Zeolite Conference, Seoul, Korea, August 12 - 17, 1996. Vol. 3 , ed. Chon, H., Uh, Y. S. and Ihm, S.K. Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis 105, Elsevier. Amsterdam. ~

Technical Information: Bayer. BaylithO: PIodtict I)c\criprion - Processes Product data, 7th Edition. 1093. Degussa, Schi-iftenrcihe Pigiiicnte Nuinnicr 7 I , WessalithO fur Warchniirtcl. 4. /\ullage November 1993, Zeolirh~~, Ettlinger, M. aiid Fci-ch, H. IO79. Scifen -Ole - Fette Wachse 105, 131 135 aiid 160 161. Kriiigs, P., Smulder\, E., Upadck, H., Verbeek, H. 1984. Information der Hcnhel-Gruppc. I 0 Jahre Phosphatsubstitut Sasil. I)ii\seltlorf. Chemical Week, Jantiary 21, 1996. Phosphates and Zeolites Reach Stalemale. ~


Zeolites as Catalysts: Thomas, J. M., Chen. J . and (icorge. A. 1V92. Chemistry in Britain, 11.991 - 994. Onaka, M. and I ~ u m i M . . I W 2 . Acl\aiice\ in Catalysis, 38,245 282. Rabo, J. A. and Gajda, G. J . I W - 90. Catal. Rev.-Sci. Eng. 31(4), 385 - 330. Michels, P. and De Hcrdt, 0. (’. E. 1087. Moleculur Sieve Cuiu1vri.s. EPO Applicd 7’cclinology Scries - Volume 9, Pergainon lnloliiie Inc.. I’crgaiiion PIess, Oxford. Chen, N. Y., Degnan Jr.. TI1 I:.. Siriirh, C. M. 1994. Molec.ulur Tmnsporr trml K ~ ~ r r c ~ t iin o i iZwlirr s, VCH Verlagsgesellschall. Weiiihcim. Holderich, W., Hesse. M.. Nauinaiiii. F. 1088. Angew. Chernie 100, 232. Occelli, in. L., O’Connor, P. ( t d . ) . 1997. I:luid Cracking Catalysts, Marcel Dckker. Iiic:.. New Ytrrk. Catalysis Today, 19, 1994. ~

5.2 Inorganic Fibers 5.2.1 Introduction Definitions, Manufacture and Processing The term “fibers” includes materials from polymers, metals or ceramics having a cylindrical shape with a length/diameter ratio greater than 10 to I and a diameter of less than 250pm, which are generally produced by a particular forming process. Geometrically whiskers represent the lower limit (see Section At larger diameters one has filaments and wires, these being often produced by other processes (e.g. continuous filament process see Section The inorganic fibers are distinguished from organic fibers by their very low hydrogen content, high production temperatures and the wide variation in the choice of elements and compounds which endow many fibers with their thermal stability. The fibers are produced continuously (endless fibers. filaments) or discontinuously (short or staple fibers) depending upon the application. Most of the fibers are obtained by extruding a flowable form (melt or solution) of appropriate chemical composition (Section 5.2.3 - 5.2.4). Other processes are based on deposition from the gas phase (Section or thermal transformation (pyrolysis) of organic (Section 5.2.5) or organometallic polymers (Section 5.2.7). The fibers or the yarn or rovings made therefrom can be processed to fleeces or mats (non-oriented semi-finished product) and textiles, lattices or meshes (oriented semifinished products) and can be utilized as such e.g. for thermal insulation or as filter materials, or in composites with other materials e.g. for fiber-reinforced polymers, metals or ceramics. Fibers are generally marketed after surface treatment (chemical modification, annealing, smoothing) to optimize their application and processing properties.

Definitions: cylindrical rhapc diameter < 2.50 pi11 length to dianictcr > I0 I

Product ion procc\ae\ : continuous, diw~iitinuoii\ exttusi~ii

polymer pyroly\ia


5 Inorganic Solids Economic Importance Economic importance: worldwide production in 1993: organic + inorganic ca. 45 . IOh t h synthetic inorganic fibers: 7 . 106 t/a natural inorganic fibers: 3 . I Oh t/a

Worldwide production of fibers was ca. 45 . 10” t/a in 1993, of which ca. 20% was inorganic fibers. Whereas at the turn of the twentieth century the fibers utilized were almost exclusively natural fibers (organic fibers: cotton, sheep’s wool and silk; inorganic fibers: asbestos), by 1993 the proportion of synthetic fibers had grown t o ca. 50%. This trend appears to parallel the increa$ing world population and the consumer behavior coupled therewith. Properties Application fields: insulating fibers reinforcing fibers fillers functional fibers

Requirements for fibers for thermal insulation: non-inflammable low thermal conductivity ability to be shaped/flexibility

Insulation at high temperatures: thermal shock resistance maximum application temperature high long term use temperature

Fiber-composites: combination of reinforcing fibers and a matrix

By far the most important application fields tor inorganic fibers are the insulation and reinforcing sectors. Fibers are also used as fillers and as filter materials. As with other materials, functional properties such as electrical, optical or magnetic properties are becoming increasingly important for fibers, in addition to mechanical and electrical properties. The fibers utilized for the manufacture of insiilutinn materials are characterized their low thermal conductivity, their compactness, their flexibility thereby attaining a high insulation capability using a small amount of material. Utilization at high temperatures additionally requires thermal shock resistance, a high maximum application temperature and a high long term use temperature. The latter is mainly determined by the chemical composition and the mineral stability resulting therel’roin (see Section 5.2.4). In this way by, for example, incrcasing the A1203content in the system metal oxide-Si02-AI2O3 ;I stability up to ca. 1627°C is attained and with Zr02-based fibers stability up to 2027°C is attained (see Section 5.2.7). In the reinforcement sector a number of fibcrs are available, which d r considerably both i n price and also in chemical and thermal stability. This has a direct impact on their suitability for the production of fiber composites. Finally there are multiphase materials, in which reinforcing fibers are embedded in the form of short o r endless oriented or non-oriented fibers, in a polymeric, metal or ceramic matrix.


Of foremost interest are their mechanical properties, which, together with their low density, have resulted in a class of materials which has enabled the attainment of lightweight structures and hence the partial substitution of classical materials such as metals. The driving force for the development of such materials was the realization of lightweight materials with high rigidity and strength, which could lead to weight saving in vehicles and aerospace craft and hence to reduced fuel consumption or to an increase in payload. Although some of the bulk materials corresponding to the fibers are mechanically brittle, the strong reduction i n volume faults enables the realization of fibers with an enormous increase in Young's (elasticity) modulus and tensile strain. The mechanical properties of several important reinforcing fibers obtained from tensile-strength tests are summarized in Fig. 5.2-1.

, I carbon fiber

i 112lik r \ : Key ti i i-cments lor I c i n IOIC

high tensile sfrcngth high Young's inodulu\ low den4ty Aim: lightweight ~trtictiircs resistance to d;nii;ige

Small diameters ot l'ibcrs cnahlc their processing to textiles Mechanical charactcri;.atioii tensile-strength tests


fibers by

O=E.E 0: tensile

stre\\ E: Young's (elasticity) inodulu\ E: tensile strain

-------. carbon fiber










p-sraniide c----

;* I


1+ I





I - - - -

* steel




conv fibcrs


0: nylon/polyester ' I I





tensile strain E(%)

100 200






Young's (elasticity) modulus fGPa)

Fig. 5.2-1. Mechanical properties of fibers, T = 27°C. a) Stress-strain curves; b) Tensile strength and elasticity moduli

The transferability of the mechanical properties of unidirectionally or multidirectionally incorporated reinforcing fibers to the entire composite material is determined bv the interface between the fiber and the matrix. At sufficient bonding strengths, the mechanical properties are proportional to the volume fraction of the fibers. Filling levels of 30 to 60 % by volume and in extreme cases up to 80% can be attained, depending upon the location and mutual orientation of the fibers. The theoretical limit for unidirectional fibers is 90.7% by volume (by comparison

Optimization ,he pn,l,crlic,


composites by: Increasing t~lL' wetl;ll,ility (,I the fibers by the matrix dedicated fihcr/nlntrix borltling high voluinc ti-actioir and Ipositioii and or-ientation o lth c rcinlorcing fibers combin&)ll ofdillc,cnt fihcrtyl)es



5 Inorganic Solids

cubic or hexagonal closest packing ol' spheres gives a filling factor of ca. 74% by volume). Special properties (e.g. electrical conductivity) can be varied within wide limits by combining different fiber types (e.g. carbon and glass fibers). Further properties are discussed in the individual sections (and i n the references). Classification and Applications Claasification criteria: chemical coinposition naturalkynthetic fibers degree of ordering thermal behavior mechanical properties

according to application field

Inorganic fibers can currently he produced from a wide range of element combinations and further fiber-types are in development (see Section 5.2.7), so that ;I classification according to chemical composition, as favored by preparative chemists, is not reasonable. Other possible classification criteria are e.g. the production process, the source of the fibers (natural or synthetic), their degree of order (amorphous or crystalline), their thermal stability (27 - 2227°C) or physical properties (tensile strength, elasticity modulus). The boundaries between the individual fiber types are, however, often fluid. In the following sections the fibers are discussed organized according to application field. the order approximating to the order of their industrial importance. A survey of several inorganic fibers together with their most important application fields is given i n Table 5.2-1. Physiological Aspects Fibers with the following dimensions producc lung damage:

diameters < 3 pm lengths greater than S pm and le\$ than I00 pm ratio of length to diameter > 3 : 1

Code of practice: dangerous matcrials regulations MAK value in FRG TRK value i n FRG: asbestoh fibers SO0 000/ni3

Fibers (length to diameter > 3 : 1 ) and dust pai-ticks (length to diameter < 3 : 1 ) with a diameter smaller than 3 pm and a length shorter than 100 pm can enter our lungs i.e. they can be breathed into the lungs and there causc damage. To avoid endangering human beings. particular concentration limits in the air should not be exceeded. These hold for their production, processing and use ;I\ well as for their disposal. Contact with the fibers is govcrned by dangerous materials regulations. The maximum permissible work place concentrations (MPC) i.e. thc toxicological/work medicinal-based values, are determined for cvery dangerous material. The industrial reference concentration (Technischen Richtkonzentrationcri, I R K value in FRG) reflects the current state of knowledge and provides a guide for the required protective measui'es. I n the case 01' asbestos fibers and for synthetic mineral fibers the limit is 500 000

fibers per in3 (= 0.5 fiber/cm3) and for asbestos dust it is 0.1 mg/m3. Table 5.2-1. Important Application Fields for inorganic Fibers. Application field

Foremost requireinents

Fibers utilized

reinforcement of: materials

textile processable high tensile strength high elasticity modulus low density

glass fibers (asbesto\)". cai-bon fibers, S i c fibers, boron fibers, oxide fibers (A1204

seals, frictional liniiigs

compression strength. elastic deformation behavior. therinal stability, abrasion resistance

glass fiber\. \tee1 fiber\ (;isbestosj*:

tire cord

stability to alternating mechanical stress

steel fibers and very short metal fibers


chemical resistance to cement, mechanical stability

cement-resistant glass fiber.;. steel fibers. (asbestos)"

heat and cold insulation in buildings

low thermal conductivity, compactness

glass wool rock wool slag wool

fire prevention

high therinal insulation. non-inflammability

aluminum silicate fibers

thennal insulation of high temperature plants

high upper utilization temperature

oxide fibers (AI2O3.ZrO2)


niiscellaiieous: antistatic finish

electrical conductivity

metal fiber.;

incandescent ti laments

high melting point, mechanical stability

tungsten fibers


highest purity for virtually locs-free light transmission

special glass fibers

hot gas filtration filtration of liquids (wine and beer production)

chemical stability high specific surface area, high filtration efficiency

oxide fiber\ (asbestosj*:

(Asbestos)" : utilization in some countries strongly restricted or forbidden due to endangering of Iicalth (see below) (Federal Republic of Germany: from 1993)

In addition to the geometric dimensions of the fibers, the stability of the fibers in the human body is also a factor in assessing the danger of cancer. A half-life for fibers of less than 30 days is desirable, asbestos fibers having a half-life of more than 100 years. Half-life values for synthetic fibers are in general significantly lower than that for asbestos. The

Biological \tahili[y of IiIicr\ in iilc dePendei1tuPof1. cheinlcal cowo\itl~)lI 'nicrOstr"crL1rc

~ U I I ~ S


5 Inorganic Solids

Possible danger$: skin irritation allergic reactions pneumoconiosis lungcancer

Protective measures: technical personal organizational Alternatives: substitute products alternative production processes

stability in the lungs is determined by their chemical composition and by their microstructure. Fibers with the above-mentioned geometric dimensions are contained in some commercially available products or occur during their processing, their use or their disposal and can give rise to skin damage (inflammation, allergies) and/or mucous membrane damage. Inhalation of asbestos leads initially to pneumoconiosis, ;I particular dust-related lung complaint, from which lung cancer can develop after prolonged exposure. Its proven carcinogenic nature has led to severe restrictions on the usc of products from asbestos fibers or even their banning (see Section 5.2.2). Safe handling of fibers should be ensured by notices calling attention to the operating instructions i n the work place. In general the measures should focus on both technical and organizational details. aiming to reduce the concentration of the dangerous material in the air, e.g. by good ventilation and avoidance of working in the open, and on personal protection to reduce contamination e.g. by use of protective clothing. In addition substitute products and/or alternative production processcs are being developed.

5.2.2 Asbestos Fibers General and Economic Importance Classification of asbestos fibers into serpentine asbestos and amphibole asbestos. Amphiboles differ in their alkali and calcium content

Asbestos, the first inorganic fiber material used, is currently still exclusively produced from natural mineral deposits. It is formed by the hydrothermal conversion 01' basic and ultrabasic volcanic rock (olivine and pyroxene) to serpentine upon which the actual ashestos formation takes place leading to two asbestos sorts with dil'l'erent structures: serpentine asbestos and amphibole asbestos. Asbestos can be produced synthetically by several hours heating of a polysilicic acid/metal oxide mixture (e.g. Mg, Fe, Co, Ni) in water at 300 to 350°C and 90 to I00 bar. The properties of four important asbestos types are summarizcd in Table


5.2 Inorgarlic Fihc~rs

Table 5.2-2. Comparative Survey of the Properties of Four Important Asbestos Types. asbestos type chrysotile crocidol i te anthophyllitc


asbestos class


ideal formula fiber diameter (individual fibers), pin

serpentine 0.015 - 0.4 (hollow fiber) 1.5


density, 10’ kgm-3

2.3 - 2.7

Mohs hardness tensile strength, GPa


13 - 22 (max. SO) 2.5




elasticity modulus, GPa

30 - 160


very high

H2O cleavage temperature, “C decomposition temperature, “C pH value acid resistance stability in lungs

zeta potential


Mg3(0H)~[Si205] NazFeS[OH/SilO, 112 (Mg,Fe),[OH/SijOlj]? Ca?(Mg,Fck(OH/Si$3I I?

fiber diameter (fiber bundle), pm specific surface area, m*/g


0.1 - 0.2 (solid fiber)

0 . I - 0.2 (solid fiber)

0 . I 0.2 (solid Iiber)





- 3.6








2.7 - 4.6 (max. 10)



5.5 - 6




7.5 - 22.5









600 - 780




ROO - 850




9.5 - 10.3




Ca. 80% ofgla\\ fiber production utilized for reinfoi-cing plastic\ w i l h i-c\ulting improvement iii the follciwing l)~“pei-~ies: tensile. cotiipressioii :iiid flcuural strengths elasticity iiiodulus impact re\i\t;iiice thermal resi\t:ince maximum LIW teiiilxv;i[tire creep tendciicy Application spectrum lor :la\\ l‘iherreinforced pla\lic\ i n 1.R (krirrany i i i 1996:

electrical industry industry & npicultiirc huilding indu\try sport & leisure x 1 i s i ! i c s conwnier pt-oduct\ other total


40 28 6


6 I97

25.1 20.3 13.2 3.1 3.6 3.1 100


5 Inorganic Solids

90% of glass fiber-reinforced polymers are duroplash &enerallY unsaturated Polyester resin!, Other application sectors: glass fiber mats and textiles for bituminous roofing felt and for carpet hacking fiber textiles for printed circuit boards and grinding disks noncombustible textiles e.g. fireproof curtain fabrics

Glass fiber mats and textiles arc utilized in the manufacture of bituminous roofing I'clt and for carpet backing. Glass fiber textiles arc also used in the manufacture of printed circuit boards and in the manufacture of grinding disks. Since they are noninflammable, glass fibers are incorporated into noncombustible textiles such as fireproof curtain fabrics. Glass fiber filters are utilized in dust removal technology. Alkali resistant AR-glass I'ibers are utilized in the reinforcement of cement l'or nonloadbearing applications, because E-glass fibers arc dcstroyed by the alkalinity of the bonding cement.

5.2.4 Optical Fibers Optical fibers consist of a: Core glass with a high refractive index Cladding glass with a lower refractive index Step-index and graded-index fibers differ in their (radial) refractive index profiles.

Optical fibers consist of thin flexiblc glass strands with a core of optical quality high refractivc index glass (GeOz- or P205-dopedquartz glass) and a cladding of lower refractive index boro- or fluorosilicate glass or in some cases special plastics like silicone resins or tluoropolymers. There are two types: step-index fibers (with ;I constant refractive index in the fiber core) and graded-indcx fibers (with continuously decreasing refractive index I'rom the fiber core to the outside of the fiber). The lattcr exhibit particularly low transmission losseh and dispersion (variation in signal transmission time) of thc light pulse fed into the ends of the fibers. Step-index fibers are manufactured using the rod/tube or the double crucible process, in which thc corc and cladding glasses are melted separately from ultrnpurc powders and transferred into two crucibles with concentric orifices at the bottom and drawn into a fiber. To obtain ;I semi graded refractive index profile, a diffusion process can be applied in a curing furnace. Step index fibers with ;I transmission loss of c 10 dB/km at a wavelength of 0.85 pm can be obtained.


Core q l a s s

Cladding g l a s s /

Figure 5.2-2. Schematic of the doublecrucible method for producing multicomponent glass fibers. a) Double crucible; b) Furnace: c ) Furnace -diameter monitor: d) Coating applicator; e) Curing furnace; f) Take-up drum.

Graded-index fibers are manufactured from preforms in a drawing tower at temperatures between 2000 and 2300 "C. The preforms are prepared using various vapor phase techniques. The Modified Chemical Vapor Deposition (MCVD) process, developed by Bell laboratories, achieves deposition of glass forming materials by passing vapors of e.g. SiCI,, GeCl,, BCI, POCI, through a rotating heated silica tube. The composition is gradually changed to obtain the desired variation of the refractive index. The tube collapses at a temperature of 2000 "C into solid preforms. In the Vapor Phase Axial Deposition (VAD) process, developed by Japanese companies and the Outside Vapor Deposition (OVD, Corning Glass Works) fine glass particles (soot) are produced by flame hydrolysis of the mentioned gaseous compounds in a H,-0,-burner and deposited on a rotating seed rod. The soot preforms are dehydrated in chlorine gas and sintered to a preform from which graded glass fiber can be drawn.

Manufactured by: step-index fihers:

Rodltube process Double crucihle procc.s\ graded-index fihers: Vapor p h a e tcchniqiich ( w i t h SiCI,, GeCI,, BCI, POCI, ;L\ slarting marcrials) for graded-index fihci \


5 Inorgunic Solids

Since the gaseous compounds can be purified very effectively the resulting fibers are very pure with transmission losses of < 5 db at a wavelength of 0.85 ym. The bandwidth of graded index fiber is much higher (> 1000 MHz . km) than of step index fibers (SO - 100 MHz . km). Immediately after the drawing process the fiber is coated (e.g. with a silicone resin, PVC, urethane-acrylate resins) to prevent microcracking and thus significantly increase its tensile strength, so that it can withstand the tension in the manufacture and installation of cables. Optical glass fibers are mainly used for telecommunication systems. They arc becoming increasingly economical compared with conventional systems because of their long repeater sp;icing and high transmission capacity. By 1997 30 x 10" km of optical fiber cables had been installed worldwide and it is expected that this figure will grow to 45 . lo6 km until 2000.

5.2.5 Mineral Fiber Insulating Materials General Information and Economic Importance Main constituents of mineral insulating fibers:

Si, Al, Zr, 0 Ca, Mg, Na, K B, Fe. Ti, Mn

Important properties of mineral fiber insulating materials: thermal conductivity hulk density porosity springing power temperature stability flammability Temperature limits for utilization:

g l a u wool rock/slag wool refractory ceramic fibers A1201 fibers ZrOz fibers

347 - 391°C 691 - 747°C ca. 1447°C ca. 1647°C ca. 2027°C

The mineral fiber insulating materials dealt with in this chapter, are generally amorphous and consist tnainly of SiO2 and A1203 with different contents of metal oxides. The most important properties of mineral fiber insulating materials are their thermal conductivity ( i n the range of 0.03 to 0.04 W/mK), their low bulk deiisities (between 10 and 200 kg/m3)), their porosity, their elasticity, their temperature stability and their flammability. The thermal insulation properties tlepcnd upon the structure and the bulk density, which can be influenced during processing by varying the thichness, length and arrangement of the fibers in the mat, the proportion of nonfibrous material and the degree of compression of the fibers. For the same bulk density the thcrmal conductivity increases with increasing fiber thickness. due t o a less even distribution of included air. The thermal conductivity also increases with increasing temperature. The temperature stability of fibers increases with increasing aluminum content. The temperature limits for LitiliAon 01' mineral fibers have to be taken into accouiit and the product

5.2 Inorgtirzic Fi1x~r.s

selected on the basis of temperatures to which they are to be subjected. The temperature limit for glass wool is a maximum of 347 to 397"C,for rock and slag wool, 697 to 747"C, and for refractory ceramic fibers, ca. 1247 to 1447°C. Pure A1203-fibers are crystalline and can be utilized for thermal insulation at temperatures up to 1647°C and Zr02-fibers are stable up to ca. 2027°C. Mineral fibers for the production of insulating materials are named after their starting materials as glass or rock fibers and as refractory ceramic fibers. The names mineral, glass or rock wool are usually used, since they, in contrast to textile glass fibers, are produced as short, randomly oriented fibers. The end products are therefore known as mineral wool insulation materials. The economic importance of mineral wool is considerable. In 1995 the worldwide production was just under 5 . lo6 t/a, shared equally by the USA, Western Europe and the rest of the World. The share of refractory ceramic fibers is small and in 1995 accounted with 190 . lo3 t/a for ca. 1 - 2% of the total production of synthetic mineral fibers. Of the I .37. lo6 t of mineral wool produced in the USA in 1992 with a value of 3,061 million US$, 85% was used for building insulation, 12.5% for the insulation of industrial plant and 2.5% for the insulation of pipelines. 390 . lo3 t of mineral wool was produced in the Federal Republic of Germany in 199.5 with a value of 51 1 million DM, of which half by weight was rock wool and half was glass wool. Depending upon the form in which it is used (fiber, paper, mats, textiles etc.) and the application temperature, the prices charged vary between 5-40DM/kg (up to 12OO"C),to 5-70DM/kg (UPto 1400"C),to 100-120 D M k g (up to 1600°C).

Economic importance:

Worldwide protiuctioii i n i90S: 5 . lo6 t/a

1/3 1/3


Western Eurolx USA Rest 01World

Production in FK Gerniatiy in 109s: 390 . 1O't niiiioral w(i(i1 (rock wool : glass wo(11= I: I ) 10 S00t refractory (11 cwaiiiic fiber\ Manufacture General Information Mineral fibers are manufactured from silicate melts of appropriate composition. These melts are converted into fibers with considerably more efficient use of time and space than in the manufacture of textile glass fibers, since the inelts are spun at much lower melt viscosities. After solidification the fibers consist of amorphous glasses (according to X-ray diffraction measurements) with


Mineral fiber\ i i r e i i i i i i i i i l ~ ~ c I u r iron1 c~I silicate melts: fiber diameter: 0.5 [(I 30 piii fiber length: I ciii 10 \evcral dni


5 Inorgurzic Solids

diameters between 0.5 and 30 pin ancl lengths between 1 cm and several dm depending upon the manufacturing process used.

Raw Materials Raw materials for glass wool: sand, lime, dolomite, feldupar, kaolin, alumina-containing igneous rock, sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate, potassium carbonate, boron minerals

Raw materials for rock wool: sedimentary or magmatic rock e.g. clay, marl, basalt, particularly diabase, and

additives e.g. lime, dolomite

Raw materials for refractory ceramic fiber\: kaolin and cyanite in addition to alumina, quartz, iircon

In the manufacture of glass n ~ ) o / ,thc raw materials are those usually used in the g l a u inciuxtry i.e. sand, lime, dolomite, feldspar, kaolin, alumina-containing volcanic rocks, sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate. potLissium carbonate and boron minerals. The purity requirements particularly as regards iron content are not particularly high. Rock wool is manufactured I'roin \edimentary or magmatic rocks (e.g. clay, marl, basalt and i n particular diabase) with small quantities of additives e.g. lime and dolomite. SIag fibers, produced from slags from metallurgical processes, e.g. blast furnace slags, with added mineral raw materials such as lime. dolomite. quartz or clay, are only of minor commercial importance. The suitability of a raw material composition for fiber formation is determined by the ratio of the viscosity increasing components Si02 and A1203 to thc viscosity decreasing ones such as alkali, alkaline earth, iron, manganese and titanium oxides. Pure ceramic raw materials are utilized in the manul'acture 01' low flux refructory cerunzic fibers, particularly kaolin and cyanite (A12SiOS) together with alumina, quart/, and zircon. Typical compositions of mineral fibers arc given in Table 5.2-9. Table 5.2-9. Composition of Mineral Fibers ( i n ' X by weight) Glass fibers

Rock fibcrs Slag fiber\


48.2 9.3

45.5 13.4

40.0 I23





I .s 0.4 28.2 3.8 0.2 0.05 0.06

8.2 5.8 10.8



Fez03 FeO CaO M&O Ti02 MnO

pzos CaS S K2O NazO


2.0 0.2 0.06





3.6 4.4

I .4 2.5

I .o 37.5 5.0 0.4 0.3 0.2 I .o 0.5 0.3 I .s

lielraclory ceramic i'i bers 52.9


0.08 -

I .I -



Manufacture of Melts The raw materials are melted at temperatures of 1200 to 1600°C in tank, cupola, electric arc or electrical melting units. Tank furnaces similar to those used for the manufacture of glass are used for the production of glass wool. The melt vessel is a large rectangular tank with the mixture added at one end and the melt taken off at the other. Water-cooled cupola furnaces several meters high and with shafts up to I in wide are used for the manufacture of rock and slag fibers. The raw materials are added alternately with coke. Metallic iron is formed from the ironcontaining raw material and has to be regularly drawn off. Electric arc resistance heated furnaces and electrical melting units are mainly used for refractory ceramic fibers, due to the high melting temperatures of the raw materials. In ovens with resistance heating the melt itself acts as the electrical resistance, since silicate melts generally become sufficiently conductive with increasing temperature to transport sufficient current, due to ionic conduction.

The rilw inatei-i;iI\ lor t l i c ditlcrcnt iuineral fiber\ are melted dillclen, lLlrnaccs: glas\

lIIl.II~,Ccs ga\


rock and \lag

W 0 0 1 s : CUpol:i ttlriliiccs

refractory ccriliiiic Iihcrs: electric arc and elecfric;il ineltiiig tiiiits

Manufacture of Fibers The manufacturing processes can be divided into pulling, centrifugal and blowing processes. These one step processes can be combined with a second blowing step. The pulling process is currently less important than the centrifugal, blowing and two stage centrifugal-blowing processes. Centrijzigal process: In the drum centrifugal process the melt flows into a rapidly rotating drum with orifices in the casing, through which is it thrown due to centrifugal forces. In the Hager-Rosengarth centrifugal process the melt flows onto a rotating gas-heated centrifugal ceramic disc. The melt is flung off by way of axial guiding grooves producing fibers 12 to 30 pm in diameter and 100 to 600 mm in length. Thin fibers 2 to 10 pm in diameter and with an average length of ca. 15 mm are obtained by the cascade centrijugal process, widely used for the production of rock and slag wools. In this process the melt flows onto one of three to four rotors with horizontal axes. From there the melt is transferred with increasing speed to the casing

Fiber formation by: centrifugal 13Ioce\w\ jet processes pulling procc\se\ two-stage centi-iftigal-jet p i - w e s s e s

Centrifiigal processc\ libers forined tram Centrifugal forces


with the ;lid of

Cascade ccnlrifugal proccs\ iised lor manufacture 01' roch ; i i d rlap fiber\


5 Inorganic Solids

Blowing process: melt is drawn into fibers with high speed gas jets

Drum centrifugal blowing process (TEI process) mainly used for glass wool production

surface of the next rotors. The melt droplets l'lung from the rotors are twisted into fibers and separated in ;I stream of air from the solidified melt droplets. Hawing process: Blowing processes also supply thin fibers 3 to 12 pm in diameter and several cm i n length. In the blow shreeding Process the melt jet falls into the path of a horizontal high velocity jet of steam or air which draws it into fibers. In the jet-blowing process a fine melt stream flows out of the base plate of a platinum tank. These are drawn into fibers by the action of high speed acuteangled gas jets from slit jets or a multitude of single jets. Two-step centrifugal j e t procrss: the drum centrifugal blowing process (TEL process) is mainly used in the manufacture of glass wool. The melt is thrown out of orifices in the casing of a metal drum rotating and the melt strands further shredded by high velocity hot combustion gases from a concentric combustion chamber at right angles. Fibers with diameters between 5 t o 10 pm and lengths of 20 to 400 mm are thereby produced.

Processing of Fibers into Insutating Materials Production o f insulating materials by deposition of fibers as a fleece Lubricating oils hinder fiber breakage Binder-free insulating materials: loose wools stitched onto cartier materials to mats

Bonded insulating materials, e.g. sheets or rolls, are manufactured by spraying a binder resin, generally phenoVformaldehyde, onto the fibers and hardening under compaction in a tunnel kiln

The fibers from the fiber-shredding units t i l l into ;I fleece shaft with a perforated conveyor belt at the bottom. The fibers are deposited as a thick fleece due to the application of a slight vacuum. A lubricating oil emulsion (e.g. vegetable oil) is added to the fleece shalt to reduce the frictional forces and hence the chafing of fibers. In the absence of binders the fibers can be used as loose wool or stitched or nailed onto a support, such as wire gauze, crepe paper or corrugated paper, into mats. In the manufacture of bonded insulating materials, the fibers in the fleece shaft or on the conveyor belt are \prayed with an aqueous binder, generally a phenol-formaldehyde resin. The binder content in the bonded insulating material is 3 to 4%. Compaction to the desired density and hardening of the resin binder occurs i n a tunnel kiln, through which the fibers are continuously transported on a conveyor belt. The compaction is achieved with a second belt which exerts the required pressure OH the upper surface of the continuous sheet. This is often followed by laminating the sheet with e.g. paper, aluminum or plastic foil. Finally the product is rolled up or cut into sheets. Applications Mineral fiber insulating materials are mainly utilized in the construction industry for thermal and sound insulation and fire protection. Products based on glass wool, rock wool and slag wool are used. The thermal conductivity of glass wool is more favorable than that of rock wool, as a result of glass fiber-based materials having a lower bulk density than those based on rock fibers. Mineral wool products are used for the insulation of refrigeration plants, cold storage chambers etc., where hard foam insulating materials e.g. expanded poly(styrene) or poly(urethane) cannot be used due to more strict fire protection requirements. For this application the mineral fibers have to be protected against moisture e.g. condensed water. In the industrial sector loose wool and molded components, e.g. cup-shaped pieces, are used for the insulation of industrial plant in addition to sheets and rolls. Preformed insulating tubes are utilized for insulating pipelines, but mineral wool mats stitched onto wire gauze are often also used. Thermal insulation at very high temperatures (e.g. in furnaces for the metal and ceramic industries) consists mainly of several mineral fiber types on top of one another: refractory ceramic fibers being arranged on the hot side, with in the case of very stringent thermal stability requirements aluminum or zirconium oxide fibers (see Section being used, and rock wool insulation on the cold side. This considerably reduces the consumption of expensive ceramic fibers without loss of efficiency. The utilization of high temperature-resistant fibers in furnace construction often enables linings of refractory brick to be dispensed with. This enables the construction of lighter and more rapidly heated and cooled furnaces resulting in substantial savings in fuel.

M 'itn . ' dpplicatioii , \ectiir


iiitticriil ltber i\

as insulating milierial\

thermal and sound in\ulation :ind fiic protection iii ttic cons~icicrioiiindusriy

Insulation of t-cl'rigera[ioii pl;iiil\ requires rninerul fiber tii\ulatins l'iher\ protected against conden\ed w i i ~ c r

Insulation of itidusti-iitl plittir\ with loow wool, sheets and roll\. :I\ w r l l its preformed molded components

For thermal iii\ulatioti :II vcr? high temperatures ceramic Iibcr\ a t e coiiihincd with rock wool foi- ccoiiotiiic rearons.

5.2.6 Carbon Fibers General Information and Economic Importance The industrial manufacture of carbon fibers (C-fibers) is based o n the thermal degradation o f nonmelting organic polymers, or organic polymers which have been rendered nonmelting, to carbon in the absence of oxygen. The

M i i t i ~ f ~ t ~0I'c:irh~~ii ire Iihu\:

by inert tilcrlllili ~ i c ~ ~ : t ~ i ;(i ~~ lt f ) l l notim c l inhIc pol y IIILY I.ih v v


5 Inorganic Solids

quality and composition of the fiber slarting material and the manufacturing technology used arc thercfore decisive in determining the ultimate properties attained by the C-fibers. Particularly important for applications in composites, are the mechanical properties of the C-fibers, which are determined by their microstructure a i d degree of crystallinity. Iiidustrially utilized C-fibers can be classified into two fundamentally different types: isotropic and anisotropic. Their different mechanical properties can be explained in terms of their different fiber structures (see Table 5.2-10).

Clas\ification of C-fihers i n two types: isotropic structure anisotropic structure

Table 5.2-10. Starting Material\ and Properties of different types of Carbon F i h w starting material

poly(acrylonitri1c) fibers

ccllulose fibers, cotton wool. animal fibers

Fiber\ from mesophase pitch







fiber structure








1.75 - 1.80

1.7.5 - I.XO


0.9 - I . I

3.5 - 6.5

4.5 - 5.5


elasticity modulus, GPa

40 - 60

230 - 300

300 - 450


slrain, R

I .x


I .o - I.5


fiber type


den\ity, Mg/m3


tensile strength, GPa

Isotropic carbon fibers: amorphous glassy carbon, poor mechanical properties

Anisotropic carbon fibers: mechanical properties dependent upon the degree of orientation of the graphite strands in the direction of the fiber axis



- 2.0

HM ~






I .x - 2.2




500 - 880

I .2

0.3 - 0.4



Isotropic carbon fibers, whose degree of crystalline order is exceptionally low and whose structure is similnr to glassy carbon, have the poorest mechanical properties. Their strength is, however, sufficient for their utilization as insulting fibers, filter media and for catalysl support. Anisotropic fibers, on the other hand, consist of intertwined graphite strands. Their extreme anisotropic properties are known from meawremcnts on graphite single crystals. Graphite exhibits high bonding strength and a very high elasticity in the layer plane, whercx these values are 1 to 2 orders of magnitude lower perpcndiculnr to the plane. The mechanical properties of anisotropic C-fibers (particularly the elasticity modulus) are thercfore dependent upon the extent to which the graphite strands are ordered in the direction of the fiber axis.

In high modulus Type H M , also known as graphite fibers, the layer planes of the graphite fibrils are predominantly oriented parallel to the fiber axis with high long range order. In the case of high rigidity CTfibersqf Type H T the layer planes are also oriented along the fiber axis, but with poorer long range order. CTfibers oj' Type H M S were developed in the middle of the 1980's and exhibit both high strength and a high elasticity modulus. The ca. 6 nm wide and over 100 nm long strand-like graphite crystals formed by degradation of the organic polymer material are arranged into microfibrils which are intertwined and have grown together. This is the basis of the strength of' this fiber type. They represent the building blocks of all the anisotropic carbon fibers. The worldwide consumption of carbon fibers has increased strongly in recent years. After their development at the end of the 1960's, a consumption of 1000 t/a was first achieved in the USA in 1982. The worldwide consumption has increased from 3 160 t/a in 1985 to 8700 t/a in 199.5, of which 40% was consumed in the USA, the rest being equally divided between Japan, the European Union and the rest of the World. A worldwide consumption of 12000 t/a is predicted for the year 2000. The economic importance of the different C-fibers is reflected in their production capacities. Therefore in the USA the capacity for PAN-based C-fibers (6200 t/a) is a factor of 25 higher than that for pitch-based C-fibers (250 t/a) and a factor of 80 higher than that for rayon-based Cfibers (ca. 100 t/a). In the USA in 1994 PAN-based fibers commanded a price of 26 to 44 DM/kg (elasticity modulus = 220 to 230 GPa), 77 to 143 DM/kg (elasticity modulus = 280 to 300 GPa), 165 to 275 DM/kg (elasticity modulus = 3.50 GPa) and 650 to 1200 D M k g (elasticity modulus > 450 GPa). In the long term prices of 2.5 to 35 DM/kg for a minimum order of 1000 kg of C-fibers of the HT-Type are expected. Rayon-based reinforcing fibers, as a result of their high price of > 800 D M k g , are only of minor importance. A comparison of the production figures for high performance C-fibers and standard C-fibers shows that the importance of the high performance HT- and HM-C-fibers has steadily increased (see Table 5.2-1 1).

There arc three types' HM: High Modulus HT: High Tenacity HMS: High Modulu\ ;ind High Strcirgth

Worldwide cori~urnp~ioii of winforcing carbon fiber\:

1979 I985 1995

560 t ? 160 t 8705 t

according to country USA Japan EU Others



3h60 t 1x7s t 1465 t I705 t

Production capacity iii the USA in 1995: PAN-based 0200 t/'l Pitch-based 250 t/a Rayon-based ca. I00 t h


5 Inorganic Solids

Table 5.2-11. Production Volumcs of Standard a i ~ dHigh Performance C Fibers in the USA in the Period 1970 ttr 1005. Year

pi-otluction ( 1 1 high performance C- f ib m

st;iiiclard ('-fibers












so Manufacture and Applications The manufacture of C-fibers generally occurs by the thermal degradation of suitable organic polymers at temperatures between 900 to 3000°C (see Table 5.2- 12). The weight loss accompanying the scission o f gaseous molecules (e.g. CH4, CO, N2) should bc 11s low as possible.

Process: fiber-shaped starting materials and spinning to organic polymeric fibers stabilization of fiber-shape carbonization graphitiiation

Table 5.2-12. Pretreatment, maximum temperature\ and yield of carbon upon the pyrol) \ i s o l tlil'li.renl \tartin:: materials. \tarting materials poly(viny1 alcohol)

stabilimtion treatment atmospheric oxidation at 200°C -

phenolic resin\ rayon

HCI; 0


calcining tcinperature (Y'I

ciirhon 1 ield in '3

up to 2500



up to 900



up to I300 up to 2900




oxidation at 220 to 250°C

I h00/3000

55 - 6 0

mesophase pitch

atmospheric oxidation below the softening point



Rcyuirements for thc stai-ring materials for C-fibers: - non-meltability - high yield o f carbon

The polymeric starting materials mu\t satisfy the following requirements: the fiber shape of the organic polymer fiber must be retained, i.e. the polymer must n o t niclt during the thermal degradation process. Any meltable polymers utilized have therefore to be hardcried by stabilization treatment (intermolecular crosslinking) i.e. rendered nonmel table. the yield of carbon after thermal dcgradarion \hould be as high as possible.

Carbon felt, carbon wool and woven carbon, which due to their isotropic structure only exhibit low mechanical strengths and low elasticity moduli, are manufactured by the pyrolysis of organic textiles. Depending on the form of the starting material utilized e.g. as woven textiles or felt, woven carbon or carbon felt is produced after carbonization. The manufacturing process proceeds in two stages, the first comprising the decomposition of the organic material at ca. 300°C (precoking). In the second stage the precoked material is degraded at ca. 10OO'C to elemental carbon in the absence of air. Carbon felts are mainly utilized for thermal insulation at high temperatures e.g. in resistive or induction furnaces. Carbon wool is manufactured by decomposing cotton wool or similar materials and is mainly utilized as a packing material for high temperature heat insulation. Its resistance to chemical corrosion makes it suitable as a filter material for corrosive media, as a support for catalysts and for corrosion-resistant linings in chemical plant. Carbon fibers manufactured from pitch are also isotropic, if neither the pitch nor the woven fiber has undergone special treatment. Pitch or coal extract is melt spun at temperatures between 250 and 400°C and the fibers crosslinked and thus rendered nonmelting by treatment with oxidizing agents such as atmospheric oxygen. Subsequent heating in inert atmospheres at temperatures above 1000°C carbonizes the fibers. Suitable raw materials are thermally degraded poly(vinylchloride), crude oil bitumen, hard coal pitch or coal extracts, which are dissolved in high boiling point highly aromatic oils. These fibers are utilized in electrically conductive composites (coatings, thermoplastics, duroplasts), the reinforcement of concrete and frictional linings. PAN-fibers are currently mainly utilized for the industrial manufacture of anisotropic reinforcing fibers of the HT- and HM-types. The production process is shown in the flow chart below (Fig. 5.2-3).

Isotropic wuctui-e: carbon felt, cai h o n wocil and woven carbon by pyrolysis 0 1 oi-ganic precurwrs: 1st phase: preccrking at 300°C' 2nd phase: carboiiizatioii at ca. 1000°C

Raw material\: organic textile\

Applications 01 cnrhoii l'elts. cnrboii wool and woven carhon: high tempct-iiturc lic;it insiil;itioii packing iiiaierials filter material catalyst supporl

Manufacture 01iwtropic C-lihers from pitch:

I st step: melt \pinning 2nd step: render noniiwliable 3rd \tep: inert c;irboiii/aiion Raw materials I'or C-l'ilicrs



thermally dcgradctl I'VC coal extract\ tar pitch bitumen Applications: electrically conducli\ c ni:itei-ial\

reinfnrcemcnt frictional Iiiiing Anisotropic stt-ucture. HT- and HM-libcrs

Fig. 5.2-3. Process steps in the manufacture of C-fibera from poly(acrylonitri1e) (PAN)


5 Inorgunic Solids

Reinforcing carbon fibers from poly(acrylonitri1e) (PAN)-fibers: step: stabilizing oxidation under tension at 300°C: 2nd step: inert carbonization at 1600°C 3rd step: graphitimtion at 3000°C 1st

High modulu\ C-fiberj from special pitch: I st step: polymerifation > 300°C to mesophase pitch 2nd step: melt apinning 3rd stcp: oxidative crosslinking 4th step: inert carbonization at IS00 to 3000°C

Reinforcing carbon fibers from reconstituted cellulose (rayon): graphitization with stretching above 2600°C to high modulus C-fibers

Marketed form: bundles of endless fibers with I000 to 160 000 individual filament\ Processed to: yarn. textiles, felts and staple fibers

PAN-fibers [poly(acrylonitrile) content > 9S%l utilized as starting materials are initially subjected to oxidative pretreatment at temperatures below 300°C with the fibers clamped to prevent shrinkage and to produce preorientation in the direction of the fiber axis in the subscqucntly lormed graphite crystals. In the second stage (carboni/ation stage), high strength carbon fibers of the HT-type are I’ormed at ca. 1600”C, which are converted in ;I third stage by graphitization at temperatures up to 3000°C into high modulus carbon fibers (HM-type). A process developed by Union Carbide utilizes special pitches to produce high modulus C-Fibers. Bitumen or coal tar is first treated at temperatures above 300°C. whereupon a high viscosity phase (“mesopha\e”) is formed which contains a significant proportion of anisotropic graphite precursors (“liquid crystals”). This mesophase pitch is then melt spun, oxidatively crosslinked and carboniLed at IS00 to 3000°C. The advantage of this process is a higher yield of carbon (80%) compared to other processes (see Table 5.2.4-3) and inexpensive polymeric starting malerials. Furthermore, preorientation occurs upon spinning the pitch to fibers, so that an expensive drawing process can be dispensed with. The tensile strength i s lower than for PANbased fibers, but very high elasticity moduli :ire attained. In rayon-based C-fibers, historically the first C-fibers, oxidative crosslinking is followed by carbonization at 1000 to 1300°C and a high temperature step at 3000 to 3000°C with simultaneous stretching. The fibers are drawn by tensioning at temperatures above 2600°C. This increases the degree of anisotropy and thereby the elasticity modulus. The high weight loss during pyrolysis and the expensive stretching process at high temperatures account for the high prices of these fibers, so i t is only utili/.ed for a few applications. These fibers are used, for example, in the extreme conditions pertaining in space (heat shields, rocket jets). Carbon fibers are commercially available as endless fiber-hanks with 1000 to 160 000 individual filaments. Carbon fibers are flexible and can be treated as textile fibers, due to the small fiber diameter of the individual fibers (ca. 8 pm). Therefore two-dimensional woven articles, knitted articles and felts are availablc i n addition to yarn and thread. Staple fibers are formed by cutting or grinding endless fibers and are available i n differcnt lengths (0.5 to SO mm).

5.2 Inorgunic Fihrr.v

Carbon in the form of endless fibers is a relatively young industrial field, which has developed explosively since its introduction in the 1970’s. Whereas in the beginning it was predominantly utilized in the field of military aviation, its utilization in the fields of sports articles and civil aviation has since grown apace. The utilization of C-fibers in civil aviation increased on the 1980’s ( 1 t C-fibers per Boeing 767). At the beginning of the 1990’s there was a decline in their use in military aviation, which was more than compensated by increases in the sports article field. In 1995 1200 t of C-fibers was utilized just for the shafts of golfclubs. Table 5.2-13 shows the evolution in consumption of C-fibers in the different sectors for the period 1979 to 1995.

Application spectrum of C-fibers i n %: spoi-t\ article\ aerospace industrial applications



45 40




Table 5.2-13. Consumption of C-fibers according to Application Sector i n tla. 1979



\ports articles i n the skiing, golf, tennis, archery, angling, and boat-building sectors




aerospace for \econdary and primary structures




industrial applications, mechanical engineering, automobile manufacture, medical technology




Their consumption spectrum changed considerably in the period 1986 to 1996, the aerospace share decreasing from 40% to 18%, the sports article sector share barely changing from 45% to 46% and the industrial applications increasing strongly from 15% to 36%. Annual increases of 5 to 10% are expected. Most of the C-fiber reinforced composites have a polymer matrix. This enables significantly lighter materials (ca. 10 to 25% weight saving compared with aluminum) than metals to be produced with comparable strength and stiffness. Advantages in aviation are lower fuel consumption, a higher payload or a greater range. Whereas in the beginning such materials were only used for secondary structures (wing flaps, rudders, paneling), further development of the materials has enabled their use in primary structures such as rudder assemblies, elevator units, load-bearing surfaces and fuselage components. In automobile construction and mechanical engineering composites are particularly important for heavily loaded, rotating or oscillating components. In addition to weight


Composite\ with: polymer matrix carbon matrix Advantage$: weight reduction high strength and \tillness cwrosion resi\tant noise reduction reduced acceleration forces low expansion cocfficient integrated construction



5 Inorgunic Solids

Applications at high temperatures: 200 to 600°C: carbon fiberkarbon matrix composites > 600°C: only in inert atmosphere?

saving they are also utilized for noise reduction, reduction of acceleration forces and precise control 01‘ small weights. Carbon matrices are more suitable than polymers ones for applications at temperatures of 250 to 600°C. Above 600°C they are, however, (as are the C-fibers as such) only utilizable in inert atmospheres. C-l‘iber reinforced carbon matrix composites are particularly used i n aircraft brakes, in fusion reactors and as a substitute for monolithic graphite. In addition they are utilixd i n the medical sector (implants), in furnace construction (heaters) and in energy conversion (heat exchangers). The market Ihr carbon fiberkarbon matrix composites in 1993 wiis estimated to be ca. 250 t.

5.2.7 Metal Fibers Fiber? of: steel, tungsten, nickel, aluminum, different alloys and boron

Metal fibers of steel, nickel, tungsten and various alloys constitute, based on their diameters, the transition between fibers and wires. They are generally polycrystalline and are mainly produced by physical working processes. Boron fibers are produced by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) onto a substrate filament (e.g. tungsten or carbon) and thereby consist of two componcnts. They exhibit both metallic and nonmetallic properties, which is to be expected for pure boron due to its position in the periodic table. Metul-couted,fibers are also marketed. Steel and Tungsten Fibers Properties: electrical and thermal conductivity high density, high melting point high tensile strength, high elasticity modu I us

Metal fibers exhibit a range of valuable properties e.g. electrical and thermal conductivity, high tensile strength, high elasticity modulus and high melting points (see Table 5.2- 14).

Table 5.2-14. Properties of Metal Fibers. fiber

melting point, “C

density, Mg/m3

tensile strength, GPa

niotlulu\, GPa

steel (tire cord)





martensitically hardened steel (Taylor wires)










350 - -120






Since the densities of metal fibers are relatively high, they are only suitable as reinforcing material when no extreme demands are made regarding weight saving, in particular the concrete and rubber sectors. Demand for polymer matrices with embedded metal fibers has parallelled the growth of the electronics industry. These composites are utilized for protection against electromagnetic effects. The prices for metal fibers vary strongly with diameter and application. Thus the prices of steel fibers are between 1.80 and 3.30 DM/kg for use in concrete or frictional linings and between 8.30 and 11.20 DM/kg for antistatic or screening applications. The price for tungsten fibers is between 500 and 1500 DM/kg, depending upon fiber diameter and quality (purity, alloy). Metal fibers can be produced by metal-cutting processes, by foil cutting processes, powder metallurgically by the sintering of metal powders which can be extruded with the help of organic binders to fibers, by metallization of non-metalic fibers and also by the controlled chemical dissolution of wires to the required fiber thickness. Thin metal wires and thick metal fibers can in principle be produced by the same methods. In addition to these process, special processes are known, particularly for the manufacture of thin metal fibers: the continuous filament process, melt spinning processes and the Taylor process. In c.ontirzuous.filumeiztprocesses rolled or predrawn wire is pulled on drawing banks in a multistage process through orifices, die stones or die rings with decreasing crosssections. The resulting increased brittleness of the material is eliminated by intermediate annealing. Manufacturing costs increase strongly with decreasing diameter, due to the increased probability of fiber fracture. Fibers with diameters > 150 pm can be produced fairly cheaply. The steel fibers important for the tire industry are produced using this method. The brass-coated fibers have diameters ofca. 150 pm. Much thinner metal fibers are manufactured by the socalled bundle pulling process, in which wires are embedded in a ductile matrix (e.g. copper) and are jointly subjected to a continuous filament process. The fibers remaining, after removal of the matrix, have diameters down to 12 pm, but diameters down to 0.5 pm can be obtained with this process.

Manufacture: metal cutting processt.\ foil cutting prc)cc\aea extrusion prom\% inetalization of fibers dissolution of wires

and particularly f or rhc ni;iniitacIurc of thin

ti lament\:

continuoua filaiiient pi-occss melt \pinning pi-oces\c\ Taylor proce\s Continuous filamciit procc\\: multiple pulling 01 w i m tIiIougli ever iinncaltng. narrower die\ with intei~iii~dia~e The process is used for tlic mantil'acturc of steel fibers for tii-c cord (c;i. IS0 pin)

Bundle pulling p~'oct'ss:

continuous filament proc.c.\s wiIli a wire bundle embedded i n a iiixtrix (c'oppei 1: fiber diameter., down 100 5 p i


5 Inorganic Solids

Melting spinning process: quenching a jet of molten metal before disintegration into droplets

Taylor process: melting and drawing

Applications: seals w u n d attenuation filter material in composites with polymers lor electroiiiagnetic protection light bulb filanients electrodes

In melt spinnirzg processes a metal mclt is forced through dies as a thin jet into a liquid medium so quickly that the solidification rate is faster than the rate of disintegration of the jet into droplets. Melt extraction is industrially more widely operated, in which a metal fiber is extracted by contact clipping a cooled rotating disc into a metal melt or a nietal droplet. Fibers with diameters down to 40 pm and lengths up to several cm can be thereby produced. The so-called Tuylor p i - o c ~ ~ , \ . is v ;I variant o f the melt spinning process, in which a glass tube filled with metal or an alloy, as powder or as wire, i s run through a heating apparatus, inelted and drawn to thin metal-filled filaments. Very thin wires down to 1 pin can bc produced as monofilaments (Taylor wires). Depending upon the application, the glass skin has to be removed or it can be retained as an insulating coating. Stainless steel fibers, produced by the hundle drawing process, are used for seals, for sound attenuation, for antistatic finishes or as filter materials. An important application field for stainless stcel fibers is the textile sector, i n which 0.5 t o 6(h of these fibers are incorporated to endow carpets, protective clothing etc. with an antistatic finish. A further application is protection against electromagnetic pulses. intedcrence and charging. Tungsten fibers with a diameter of' 12 pni are used for boron or S i c deposition and as light bulb filaments. Furthermore, metal fibers are used in the filtration of polymer melts and corrosivc liquids, a s well as for electrodes with high surface are;is. Boron Fibers Properties: tensile strength 3 - 4 GPa elasticity modulus ca. 400 GPa WAK (27 - 327°C): 4.9. IOP/K

Boron fibers possess good mechanical properties at low densities, which accounts for their use i n composites for lightweight structures. Commercially obtainable boron fibers exhibit an elasticity modulus at toom temperature of 400 Gpa, a tensile strength of' 3 - 4 GPa and a thermal expansion coefficient from room temperature t o 327°C of 4.9 . 10-h/K. The maximum usc temperature is 367"C, the elasticity modulus having dropped to 240 TiOd


zinc iron brown



bright to mid-brown

Fe-Cr-Mn brown

Zn(Cr. Fe):Oj



\pinel black

Cu(Fe, Cr)?O4



Ti-Sb-Cr buff

(Ti, Cr, Sb)Oz


orange- yellow

Ti-Sb-Ni yellow

(Ti, Ni, Sb)Oz



Ti-Sb-Mn brown

(Ti, Mn, Sb)Oz


bright to dark brown

pseudobrookite yellow

Fe2Ti05. xTiO2



iron manganese black

(Fe, Mn)?O-,



iron manganese brown

(Fe, MnhO?


bright to red-brown

iron chrome brown

(Fe. CrhO3


red-brown to black-brown

manganese blue

Bas04 Ba-((MnO&


green-tinged blue

Manufacture by solid state reactions at I000 to I400"C

Applications in the pigmentation: paint.;, plastics, enamels and ceramics.

The starting materials in the manufacture of mixed-metal oxide pigments (as a rule carbonates, hydroxides, oxides and oxide-hydrates) are intimately mixed and heated, if necessary with added flux, at temperatures of 1000 to 1300°C. The particle size can be controlled, and thus the coloristic properties influenced, by varying the calcination temperature and the added flux. The 0.2 to 2 Fm particles required for the pigment sector are obtained by intensive grinding of the calcined clinker i n ball or sand mills. Stains and oxides (ceramic colorants) with an average particle size up to ca. 10 pm and a broad particle size distribution, are in some cases manufactured at still higher temperature, up to 1400°C. The higher primary particle sizes are necessary because a more o r less strong solubilization of the particles takes place during the firing of the enamel or ceramic frits. The component to be enameled or glazed is coated with a mixture of intensively mixed frits and colorants then fired at temperatures between500and 1200°C. The thermal stability of stains and oxides is particularly important in view of the high processing temperatures and therefore oxide host-lattices with spinel-, corundum-, rutileand silicate-phases are favored as well as zircon, phenacite, garnet and sphene structures.

5.9 Inorganic Pigments

The color range can be considerably widened by incorporating several color-giving or lattice-modifying ions (Table 5.9-14). The pure red-tinged blue pigment cobalt aluminum spinel can thus be changed into a green-tinged blue pigment by the additional incorporation of chromium. The further incorporation of nickel and titanium leads to an inverse titanium spinel with a brilliant green color. Brown iron-chromium-zink spinel is converted into a black pigment (spinel black) by replacing the zinc copper. The rutile lattice is particularly suitable for incorporating color-giving ions. Almost all of the transition ions can be accommodated in the rutile lattice. The most important rutile mixed-metal oxide pigments contain nickel and chromium (lemon yellow and ochre colors respectively). By incorporating manganese a brown pigment is obtained. Niobium or antimony is incorporated to compensate for charges lower than 4+. This incorporation principle is used to a considerable extent in stains and oxides for enamels and ceramics. In this case, the number of possible element combinations is further expanded, since host-lattices such as zircon, phenacite and sphene, which have lower refractive indices and hence are less interesting as pigments but have a very high thermal stability, can be used. Ca. 10 . lo3 t of ceramic colorants (oxides and stains) are currently produced annually in the USA and Europe. Cadmium Pigments Cadmium pigments based on yellow CdS or its mixed brilliant inorganic colored phases are among the pigments. As a result of their high thermal stability and their not bleeding in plastics, they are mainly incorporated into plastics with high processing temperatures such as styrene-polymers, poly(ethene), poly(propene) and poly(carbonate), in which organic pigments with comparable brilliance suffer from thermal degradation. They are also used in especially brilliant paints. Their UV absorption protects the organic matrix (the binder) from UV degradation.

Most important properties Of pigments:


high tintinEstrength, high brightne\s, thermal stability during the pigmentation of plastics.



5 lnnrgunic Solids

Table 5.9-14. Colorants for Enamels and Ceramics (Stains and Oxides) (Selection) colorant

chemical composition

crystal structure

temperalure up to which colorant is stable, “C


cobalt blue




(Co, Cr)-blue

(Co, Ni, Zn)?. (Cr, A1)20$



zircon blue

(Zr, V)SiOd




cobalt titanate


10 p/kg rat


5 Inorganic Solids

Me+[Fe2+Fe3+(CN)6] . xH20 with Me(Na+,K+,NH4+) Manufacture of cyanide iron blue pigments Me+[Fe2+Fe3+(CN),]: precipitation with Fe(l1)-salts with hexacyanoferrate(II), oxidation with chlorates or dichromates.

They are precipitated as a white dough when ferrous salts react with complex iron(I1)-cyanides. This is then converted to cyanide iron blue by oxidation with chlorates or dichromates.

Fe2++ Me,+[Fe2+(CN)6] . (x + y)H2O -+ Me2+[Fe2+Fe2+(CN)h]. xH20 + 2Me2 + yH20 Me2+[Fe2+Fe2+(CN),] . xH20


Me+[Fe2+Fe3+(CN)6] . xH20 + Me+

Applications for cyanide iron blue pigments: carpaint, printing ink, colored paper.

LD5o of cyanide iron blue pigments: 8 to 10 g/kg rat

The white dough is either precipitated by adding the hexacyanoferrate(I1) solution to the iron(I1)-solution or the simultaneous addition of the dissolved components to an agitator vessel at pH values between 2 and 6. The particle size can be influenced by the choice of temperature (20 to 60°C) and the concentrations of the initial solutions. The white dough is aged by boiling and then oxidized to the cyanide iron blue pigment which is filtered off, gently dried and ground. Dark cyanide iron blue types have particle sizes from 0.01 to 0.05 pm and almost black pure tones, whereas the bright-blue types have particle sizes between 0.05 and 0.2 pm. Cyanide iron blue pigments have extremely high tinting strengths, but are difficult to disperse, due to their tendency to agglomerate. They are stable over short periods at temperatures up to 180°C and hence are usable in stoving enamels. They are mainly used in printing inks (particularly gravure), in the coloring of fungicides (cyanide iron blue is used e.g. in vineyards as a leaf fertilizer), in paints (car paints) and in the manufacture of colored paper. Mixtures of cyanide iron blue pigments with chrome yellow and zinc yellow are known as chrome green and zinc green respectively and are used in paints and printing inks. The DL50 of cyanide iron blue pigments is 8 to 10 g/kg rat.

5.9 Inorganic Pigments Ultramarine Pigments Ultramarine pigments are sodium aluminum silicates with the composition Na~[A16Si6024] . S, (Na-rich) or Na8.y[A16.ySi,j+y024] . S, (Si-rich), which can have a blue, green, red or violet tone, depending upon the composition of the chromogenic S,-group. The multistage manufacture of ultramarine pigments begins with careful partial calcination of the mineral kaolinite (china clay) to metakaolinite: A14(OH)8Si4010 5 0 bis 600 "C (kaolinite) -xH2 0

Ultramarine pigrneiit\: blue, green, red. violet tones

A14(OH)~.2,O,Si4010 (metakaolinite)

A wide mesh three-dimensional zeolite structure is built up out of metakaolinite and the other raw materials (Na2SO3, S, reducing agent) in a very complex firing process in a reducing atmosphere (SOz):

The reaction with the intermediately formed Na#, white prae-ultramarine:

Manufacture of ultramarine pigments: partial calcination of kaolinite to metakaolinite. formation of a zeolite structure by calcination with Na2C03 in a SO2 atmosphere, reaction with Nu& t o white praeultramarine, slow oxidation to ultramarine.


Na6[A16Si6024]+ Na2S, --+ Na6[A16Si6024]. Na2S, (pre-ultramarine) Blue ultramarine (with the chromogenic group Sy, herein generally represented as S,) is formed by slow (up to 20 days!) oxidation of the sulfur in the cavities and channels in the zeolite cage: 2Na6[Al6Si,024] . Na,S,




2Na8[A16Si60241. S, (Na-rich)

Recently new continuous processes have been introduced, which have reduced the manufacturing time to several hours and has clear ecological advantages. Silica-rich ultramarine blue pigments are obtained with the same reaction sequence. Green ultramarine requires 1/7 to 1/8 of the sulfur required for the blue pigment, but 2.5 times the amount of reducing agent. The firing process occurs at temperatures between 900 and 1000°C in a

Variation in manufacturing conditions produces: blue ultramarine, green ultramarine, violet ultramarine, red ultramarine.



5 Inorganic Solids

reducing atmosphere and the reaction and cooling times (20 to 25 h) are much shorter than for ultramarine blue rich in sodium. The color-giving species are S2- and S3- in cavities in the cage-structure. Oxidation of ultramarine blue or green with air at 130 to 280°C in the presence of ammonium chloride results in ultramarine violet with the chromophore S4-. Ultramarine red is obtained from ultramarine blue or green by air oxidation at 100 to 150°C in the presence of HCI and C12.

5.9.4 Corrosion Protection Pigments Modes of operation of active corrosion inhibiting pigment\:

Inhibition of corrosion processes by passivation, cathodic protection, formation of protective layers, formation of metal soaps, pHchange, neutralimtion of corrosion promoters.

Paints pigmented with active corrosion inhibiting pigments are applied as corrosion-protecting coatings or primers to metallic surfaces. Active corrosion protection pigments should inhibit the corrosion processes. These can occur by a multiplicity of corrosion processes, which explains the wide range of corrosion protection pigments (Table 5.9-15 and Table 5.9-16). As a rule, corrosion protection pigments possess several of the cited inhibition properties, so that corrosion protection with a particular pigment is by a combination of different mechanisms. Optimum efficiency requires combination with a suitable binder. For example the utilization of a corrosion protection pigment which forms metal soaps only makes sense, if the binder is able to form soaps. The use of the optimum pigment concentration, which can vary consideration, is equally important. Thus zinc salts of nitro-isophthalic acid are used at a concentration of ca. 0.5% by weight in paints, whereas ca. 90% is necessary in the case of zinc-dust pigments, to guarantee the zinc-iron contact necessary for cathodic protection. Corrosion protection coatings also contain inactive corrosion protection pigments as additives (Ti02, Fe203, fillers, CaC03 etc.), which support the operation of the active pigments. Toxicological reservations in connection with several corrosion protection pigments has led to the increased use of nontoxic pigments and to new developments such as SicorinB or the calcium or zinc ferrite pigments (see Table 5.9-15).


phosphate-contai borate-containine chromate-containing





classification lead-containing 5.9-15.


. .Pb(CN),/Pb,(PO,),






.0.5H,O 3H,O

PbHPO, to .4Zn(OH), K,CrO,PbO/SiO, 3PbO/SiO,


4 H,O

B . 0'3H.O ..

< 7 1 70 2 I 5 3 2 20 3 000 000 000000000000 000 000 n.a. n.a.000000


6 000


world quantities 3 50 000 000 production (da)

melt ZnO PbO oxidation oxidation calcination -+ sublimation precipitation precipitation precipitation precipitation precipitation manufacture +precipitation precipitation precipitation spraying CrO, CaO of of Zn on PhO with



ZnO nitro-isophthalic .

o f xtR,O,/


CaOZnO Pb ZnHaO. CrPO, SrCrO, PbSiO, PbCrO, 2 P h 0 . Pb,O,forniula Zn-salts CalPbO, Zn,(PO,).ZnCrO, 3ZnCr0,.

zincleadzinc zincstroiiti basiczinc basic lead red barium calcium calcium Protection Sicorin@ chromium lead materials dust phosphate/lead oxide zinc lead unl yellow posder boratephosphate pluinbate cyanamidc/lead fenitelzinc Pigments chromate chroiiiate phosphate silicochromatc phosphite fenite

oxide tor-cuntaining



5 Inorganic Solids

Table 59-16. Corrosion Protection Processes with Different Pigment Types type of process

mode of protection

typical examples


passivation by development of an appropriate potential

chromates, Pb30J

cathodic protection

Pinc dust

formation of protective layers on metal surfaces

chromates, phosphates


formation of metal soaps with fatty acids of hinder ZnO, Pb30J pH shift of metal soaps with fatty acids of binder (no Fe-corrosion at pH I I to 12)

Ca2Pb04, ferrite5 such as CaO.xFe20~,ZnO.xFezO3

neutralization of corrosion promoters ((3, SO4?-) Ph304, alkali reacting corrosion protection pigments physical

coverage of undercoat

micaceous iron oxide

improvement in physical properties of the coating layer (improved tlexibility and adhesion, reduced water permedbihty)

PbjOj, Pb(CN)2, ferrite\: Ca0.xFe103,ZnO.xFe203

5.9.5 Luster Pigments The term luster pigments includes: metal effect pigments, nacreous pigments, interference pigments.

The term luster pigments includes metallic, nacreous and interference pigments. The luster effect is due to directed reflection on planar-shaped and ordered pigment particles. Metal Effect Pigments Metal effect pigments:

*lakes Or lame'la-shaped metal particles aluminum, copper, gold bronze.

Metal effect pigments consist of high luster flakes or lamella-shaped particles of soft ductile metals such as aluminum, copper and gold bronze. They are produced by cold forming of granules or pieces of sheet, foil or wire in specially constructed ball mills. Cold welding is hindered by the addition of fatty acids or alkylamines as lubricants, which coat the freshly formed surfaces. Particles from a few mm to pm's in diameter with aspect (thickness to diameter) ratios of 1 : 50 to 1 : 250 can be produced, depending upon the grinding technique and grinding time. The metal effect pigments are used in paints, printing inks and plastics, either alone (mass tone) or colored with transparent colorants.

5.9 Inorganic Pigments

58 1 Nacreous Pigments Pearlescence comes about by multiple partial reflection of every incident ray of light on several platelet-shaped particles at different depths in the coating. The naturally occurring nacreous pigment fish-scales (guanine) is no longer available in sufficient quantities. Basic lead carbonate serves as a synthetic substitute, but is suspect on toxicological grounds. Bismuth oxychloride nacreous pigments are expensive and are being supplanted by cheaper products. Synthetic titanium dioxide nacreous pigments, produced by the precipitation of hydrous titanium dioxide onto colorless mica fractions of uniform platelet size and subsequent calcination, are very important. The uncoated mica platelets should be at most 200 to 500 pm thick and the double-sided titanium dioxide coating is ca. 50 pm thick. Normally the particle diameter is 10 to 30 pm.

Manufacture of synthetic ~ ~ r ~ luster o U h pigments by precipitating Ti02 on mica Interference Pigments If the interference condition is fulfilled by the nacreous pigments produced by the precipitation process i.e. the product of oxide coating thickness and refractive index lies in the 200 to 500 nm range, interference colors are observed. Precise maintenance of coating thickness is important for a uniform color effect. The color effects possible with interference pigments (complementary colors in transmission and reflection) are utilized in the manufacture of cosmetics, artificial mother of pearl and costume jewelry. Ca. 35% of car paintings are carried out with interference pigments. An example of an industrial application is the manufacture of infra-red reflecting light-cupolas from acrylic glass. The color range can be strongly extended with colorants (Fe203, C203). The worldwide consumption of nacreous and interference pigments in 1995was ca. 12 . 103 t.

,nterference pigments are pigments, which fulfill the interference criteria and hence exhibit color effects

5.9.6 Luminescent Pigments Luminescent pigments are solid fine particulate (1 to 5 pm) luminescent materials, which reemit absorbed energy as light at lower energy than the energy absorbed (mainly in the visible spectral region) either almost simultaneously with (fluorescence), or subsequent to (phosphorescence)

Luminescent pigments: fine particulate activated and sensitired solids, producing luminescenceupon excitation


5 Inorganic Solids

Applications in: cathode ray tubes, fluorescent lights, television screens. radar screens, tlying spot scanner\, image intensifiers, X-ray screens, \afety marketing.

excitation. Depending upon the structure and composition of the luminescent material, the stored energy can be reemitted within fractions of a second or up to several hours after excitation. Activators ( e . g transition metal and rare earth ions) which act as luminescent centers optionally with sensitizers (e.g. Sb", Pb2+, Ce3+, Eu3+, Tb") are incorporated in concentrations of 10-2 to 10-4 g/moI into a crystal lattice generally consisting of colorless oxides, oxysulfides, sulfides, silicates, phosphates, borates or halides of zinc, alkaline earth or rare earth metals. The impurity level must be well below the activator concentration, since impurities act as quenching centers and considerably reduce the emission yield. Emission decay time and color are mainly dependent upon the choice of activators and the crystal field influences of the matrix. Luminescent pigments are manufactured by the repeated calcination/sintering of homogeneously mixed raw material at 1000 to 1400°C under reducing conditions, depending upon the activator(s) and the crystal lattice, interspersed with gentle grinding. They are coated in thin layers from suspensions which contain an adhesive e.g. by precipitation. Table 5.9- 17 gives several selected examples.

5.9.7 Magnetic Pigments General Information and Properties Important properties of magnetic pigments: ferri- or ferromagnetic, needle-shaped, aspect ratios of 5 : I to 10 : I . coercive forces between 300 and IS00 0% tape remanences between I200 and 3200 Gauli.

' 1 the internationally used units Oersted, Gaul3 and emu/g (clectromagnetic units) are converted to SI-units as follows:

1 Oe = 1O3/4rr[Am-']; I GauB = 10-4 T (Tesla); I e n d g = 12.56 lo1 [Tcm3g-l]

Magnetic information storage on tapes, drums and rigid and floppy discs is based on the magnetization of miniscule solids, the so-called magnetic solids, dispersed in organic binders. These are needle-shaped particles 0.03 to 0.1 pm in diameter with aspect (length/width) ratios of 5 : 1 to 10 : 1. The products used are based on the ferrimagnetic compounds y-Fe203 and Fe304 or ferromagnetic substances such as Cr02 and metallic iron. The composition, shape and size of the needles are crucial for obtaining the desired magnetic properties in the tape (see Table 5.9-1 8). The coercive force IHC and remanence I R achievable in the storage medium are important properties"). The coercive force I H C represents the resistance of the tape to re- and demagnetiLation. An oppositely directed field strength of the size of I H C is necessary to demagnetize an already magnetized object.


Tb' Ag'lCl Cli*/CI Zn nonc


Ce Eu.' Eu Tb"


green green &reen blue-violet

540 525 SO5

gadolinium oxysulfide zinc sulfide

Linc oxide calcium wol trametc


}ello% blue red grcen blue

550 440 625 540 440

yttrium aluminum garnet barium fluorobromochloride yttrium oxide yttrium oxysulfide

magne5ium tluorogermanate (Sr,Mg)-orthophosphate

MI?' Sn

green blue yelloworange red ro re -red

calciuni halogen phosphates

525 480 580 7 10 630

/inc orthosilicate

Mn" Mn 'ISb'


phosphor composition


main emission inaxima (nni)

Table 5.9-17. Selected Example\ of Lunnnexent Pigments and their Field\ of Application


flying spot scanners tluorcbcent lights & X-ray screens

flying 5pOt scanners X-ray screens tluoresccnt lights and television tubes television tubes television tubes, radar tuhes & X-ray screens X-ray screens radar tubes

high pressure mercury lamps fluorescent lights & high pressure inercuiy lamps

oscilloscopes fluorescent lights

fields of application

5 Inorganic Solids


Operating points for tape recorders are set on the basis of the coercivitv of the tams: 1. normal (y-Fe20~), 11. 111.


0 0 2 ,

double-layer tapes Cr02/y-Fe207, metal.

The higher the residual magnetization ( I R , remanence) in the tape after switching off the magnetizing field, the higher will be the intensity of the signal reproduced. The remanence of a tape depends upon the degree of filling as well as the choice of pigment. Depending on the tape quality, remanences of 1200 to 1700 Gaul3 are attained with oxidic magnetic materials and 2600 to 3200 Gaul3 with metallic iron pigments. To obtain optimum reproduction, the apparatus has to be adapted to the different coercive forces of these materials. This is accomplished by setting operating points (OP): OP I: normal (y-Fe203); OP 11: chromium oxide (and higher coercivity iron oxides); OP 111: ferrochrome (doubly coated tapes with CrOdiron oxide; largely historical); OP IV: metal (iron or alloys). Manufacture of Magnetic Pigments Manufacture of G O 2 : 1'


2x1 "(' ROO bar



+ CrOl

300 t" 450 " C SO tn 800 bar


CrOz + % 0 2


+ H2°

Manufacture of the iron-based magnetite pigments y-FelOi, F q O 4 and Fe from needle-shaped a-FeOOH or y-FeOOH

Very complicated processes are currently necessary for the production of needle-shaped magnetic pigment particles. As regards needle-shaped pigments, chromium dioxide with a rutile structure is favored. It tends to crystallize as needles under hydrothermal production conditions (decomposition of Cr03 in an oxygen atmosphere or reaction of CrOOH with Cr03). The manufacture of iron oxide-based needle-shaped magnetic pigments is much more complicated as y-Fe203, Fe304 and metallic iron (all cubic) do not crystallize in a needle-shape. It is therefore necessary to start from needleshaped precursors. Nonmagnetic a-FeOOH (goethite) or yFeOOH (lepidokrokite) produced by precipitation and oxidation from Fe(I1)-salt solutions are suitable precursors which can be converted into ferrimagnetic magnetite by dehydration and reduction and into ferromagnetic metallic iron by complete reduction. In the synthesis of y-Fe203, careful oxidation of magnetite in a spinel lattice to a superstructure of crystallizing ferrimagnetic y-Fez03 (maghemite) under well-defined conditions is necessary:

5.9 Inorganic Pigments


or Y-FeOOH

300 to 400 " C




4011 to 5 0 0 "C H2, H,f)

350 to 450 "C



350 to 450 "C, H l

FeiOJ 300 to 350 "C

Since the starting material is chemically and structurally changed several times, it is important that the initial needle shape be retained as completely as possible during the synthesis by, for example, using protective layers. Recently ever more use has been made of the coercivityincreasing effect of cobalt in the magnetic iron oxides. The cobalt is either incorporated homogeneously into the iron oxide lattice (bulk doping) or the needles of the finished yFe203 or Fe3O4 magnetic pigment are epitaxially coated with a layer of cobalt ferrite. Coercive forces of 380 to 750 Oe require ca. 1 to 4% Co. Such products have comparable properties to CrO2-pigments (see Table 5.9- 18). The world production capacity for magnetic pigments in 1991 was ca. 40 . lo3 t, magnetic iron oxide pigments accounting for over 90% of this. Metallic iron pigments are preferred for 8 mm camcorders tapes. It is mainly utilized in the manufacture of video tapes (VHS) Metal pigments are increasingly being used in 8 mm video formats and R-DAT. The importance of audio cassettes has waned, since the introduction of the compact disc.


Coercivity increase for iron oxide magnetic pigments by Co-doping or Co-ferrite coating


5 Inorganic Solids

Table 59-11). Propertie, of Magnetic PiXmenh magnetic pigment

y-Fe?03-pigmenrs Co-modified

coercivity 1°C

uturation magnetization. 0,in einulp

in Oe



330 to 370


70 to 73

typical application fields OP 1 to OP IV (Operating Points) audio ca\\ette\ O P I, amateur & professional tape recorders, computer tapes, floppy discs


audio cassettes, OP I audio cassettes. OP II video tapes (e.g. VHS)

400 to 440


audio cassettes. OP !

550 to 650


audio cassettes. OP I 1

370 to 450 550 to 650 650 to 750 84

Co-modified Fe ~ O ~ I y - F e 2 0 ~

650 to 750


450 to 650 600 to 700

Fe (metal)

I 100 to 1200 1400 to 1500

video tapes (home video recorder)



audio cassette, OP II video tapes (home video recorder)

I20 t o 140

audio cassettes, OP IV video tapes, e.g. 8 mni

References for Chapter 5.9: Inorganic Pigments Pigments in general and colored pigments: Winnacker-Kuchler: Chemische Technologie. 4. Autl., 1983. Bd. 3, 349. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chernisti-y. 1992. 5. Ed., Vol. A 20, 243 - 369, VCH Verlagsge\ellachaft. Weinheim. Kirk-Othtner, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1996. 4. Ed., Vol. 19, I -40. John Wiley & Sons. New York. Winter, G., Fortschr. Miner. 57.2, 172 - 202 (1979). Kittel, H., Lehrbuch der Lacke und Beschichtigung, Vol. 1 - VII, Verlag W. A. Colomh, Berlin (1974). Bittler, K. and Ostertag, W., Angew. Chem. 92, 18 - 194 ( 1980). Hund, F., Angew. Chem. 93,763 - 771 (1981). Buxbaurn, G., Ed., Inorganic Industrial Pigments, VCH, 2nd. Ed., 1998.

White pigments: Barksdale, J . , Titanium, 2nd Ed.. New York, Ronald Press Comp., 1966. Thr Econoniic~.~ of’Tittrnium, 2nd Ed., Ro\kill information Services Ltd., 1976. Wooditsch, P., defazet 33(6/7), I91 194 (1979). Fischer. J., Industrial Mincrals. August 1996, 47 - 55. Skillen, A,, Industrial Minerals, July 1996, 25 - 35. ~

Special pigments: Wienand, H., and Ostertag, W., Farbe und Lack 88(3), 183 - 188 (1982). Broll, A,, Breyer, H. H. and Kleinschmitt, P., Chem-Z. 101(7/8), 3 I9 - 323 ( 1 977).

Industrial inorganic Chemistry Karl Heinz Bbchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto & Peter Woditsch copyright0 WlLEY VCH Verldg GmbH, 2MlO

6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

6.1 Economic Importance of Nuclear

Nuclear energy is today a developed and established technology in the energy market. Its contribution to the worldwide provision of energy is currently similar to that from water power at about a sixth of the worldwide production of electricity. The share of electricity production from nuclear power technology in France and Lithuania is over 70% and in four other countries it accounts for about half of the electricity production. In the Federal Republic of Germany and a number of other countries it accounts for about a third of the electricity production (FRG in 1994: 34% of public electricity provision). At the beginning of 1996 there were 428 nuclear power station complexes in operation in 34 countries with a capacity of 363 GWe, with 6 2 complexes then under construction (see Table 6 . I - 1). Nuclear energy is currently almost exclusively employed for electricity production. The prognosis for the future development of nuclear energy involves a number of uncertainties. In some Western industrialized countries more or less large parts of the population have decided to dispense with nuclear energy, in other countries, e.g. France, these groups have little support. The example of Sweden shows that these preferences can also change, when difficulties emerge regarding concrete steps in the direction of exiting from nuclear energy. A number of Asian countries and several former communist countries in Eastern and Central Europe plan further expansion in nuclear energy.

Public electricity provision from power stations in 1994 in the FRG, net (in TWh): coal lignite oil natural gas nuclear energy water power other

108.1 123.7 4.3 19.5 141.8 16.2 3.6 4 17.5


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Table 6.1-1. Nuclear Power Station Complexes in thc World according to Country (as of01.02.1996). on stream country


under construction


brutto number brutto number brutto capacity capacity capacity I O1 MWe lo1 MWe I03 MWe

Argentina Armenia



I 2


3 2

2 I







5 20 4

5 23 2


60 29

67 15 3 3




Brazil Bulgaria

I 6

I 4

2 2

2 2

China FRGermany Finland

3 20 4

2 23 2



France Great Britain

56 29









2 5

3 5

2 55


Iran Japan



Canada Kasakhstan

21 I







Korea (South) Cuba



20 2


Lithuania Mexico Netherlands

2 2 2


2 2 2

3 I I

Pakistan Romania



Russia Sweden

29 12


Switzerland Slovak Republic

5 4

3 2

Slovenia Spain South Africa



9 2


Taiwan Czech Republic

6 4




9 I





0.3 2

2 2

0.4 2



35 12






Hungary USA

4 109




5 8 I 9 2 6 6 21 4 I13



















3 4

I 7


5 4


2 110


6. I Ecoiiomic Imortunce of Nuclear Energy

Overall it is unlikely that the share of nuclear energy in global energy provision will change in the medium term i.e. that nuclear power station capacity will increase (according to WEC/IIASA, depending upon the assumptions made, by 20 to 100% by 2020). In the Federal Republic of Germany nuclear power station capacity will probably be maintained at least at the present level in the medium term. The long term perspectives are difficult to gauge, they depend particularly upon what stringent climate protection measures become necessary are and their being internationally carried out, and to what extent renewable energies win acceptance in the market, this being decisive in determining the future not yet predictable cost reductions in solar technology. A significantly higher share of nuclear energy in the energy provision is technically and economically feasible, it potentially also providing part of the heat requirements in addition to electricity. Worldwide energy consumption has risen in the last 40 years by a factor of four. The global energy demand will continue to increase in the future. This is partly due to the necessity of raising the standard of living of the poorer regions of the World and partly due to the continuing growth in the World population from the present 5.5 . lo9 to ca. 10 . lo9 by the middle of the twenty-first century. Maintenance of recent growth rates in energy provision will experience increasing problems as regards the provision of raw 'materials. Therefore current predictions are that the energy intensity of the Gross National Product will be reduced more in the future than in the past by the application of improved technology for the conversion and utilization of energy and that the proportion of fossil energy sources will decline strongly in the long term. Despite such energy saving efforts, worldwide energy consumption will double by the middle of the twenty-first century (band width of the WECDIASA study 1995: increase of a factor of 1.6 to 2.7 by 2050). An important precondition for future energy provision is climate protection. Since the beginning of industrialization the C02-concentration in the Earth's atmosphere has increased from 283 ppm to 354 ppm. This is predominantly due to increasing combustion of coal, oil and natural gas. It has been scientifically proved that the increase in so-called greenhouse gases in the air, brings about a climatically relevant heat contribution in the Earth's atmosphere in the radiation equilibrium between solar radiation and reradiation from the Earth. Complicated secondary effects can both ameliorate and exacerbate this.


Primary energy consumption: worldwide in 1993 i n 1O't SKE, according to energy source*1: oil gas coal nuclear energy water power public provision


biomass etc. renewable (wind, solar, geothermal) total '1

4.460 2.550 3 .Oh0


0.850 1 1.720

I .so0 0.03 I 13.251

calculated according to substitution methods

distribution according to world regions of publicly provided energy: North America Asia/Australia Western Europe (OECD) Rest of Europe Latin America Middle East Africa

28.3% 24.79 18.1Q 17.8% 5.0%1 3.3% 2.8%


6 Nucleur Fuel Cycle

Consumption per person (t SKE/a):

North America Europe (OECD) and others Rest of world World average

10.8 4.8 0.9 2.0

Probable climate change due fo ever increasing consumption of fossil fuels worldwide and consequent increase in COz-emis5ion Reduction in COl-emission only possible by immediate reduction in fossil fuel energy consumption

Fuel cycle costs in nuclear power stations (January 1995, Pf/kWh): natural uranium and conversion uranium enrichment fuel element production reprocessing and storage of

0.19 0.26 0.52 1.39




for future EPR* (higher burn-up, direct storage)

I .60

* jointly . developed European pressurized water reactor '

Despite remaining uncertainties in the climate models and global warming prognoses, it is currently regarded as probable that the average temperature of the atmospheric layer close to the Earth's surface will increase by several degrees Kelvin, if the emission of greenhouse gases, particularly C02, increases as in the past. If grave harm to humanity is to be avoided with any certainty, carbon dioxide emission has to be strongly reduced in the future, which is generally held to require an immediate reduction in fossil fuel consumption. The quantitative prerequisites therefor are currently being discussed internationally. The gap between increasing worldwide demand on the one hand and the required reduction in fossil fuel utilization on the other can not only be covered by renewable energy and energy saving measures but also a large proportion will probably have to be covered by nuclear energy. In the long term this can mean a tenfold increase in worldwide nuclear capacity . There are a wide range of measures for reducing CO2emissions, which either are aimed at energy saving or at a shift to low emission or emission-free energy sources. Most of them are associated with additional costs. Typical avoidance costs are between 100 DM per ton of avoided C02-emission to more than 2000 DM for utilization of solar cells. Nuclear energy on the other hand can reduce the emission of C02 without additional costs or, e.g. by utilization for average load electricity or industrial process heat, with costs, which are at least well below the abovementioned amounts. At the current low world market prices for fossil fuels there is no clear cost advantage of nuclear energy over favorably sited power stations fired with imported coal and modern combined gas and steam power stations. More accurate comparisons depend upon the assumed interest on capital, the actual fuel prices and local conditions. Furthermore, there is no construction experience with the new generation of nuclear reactors. Despite this and independent of the above-mentioned cost advantages for climate protection, the constructioned of new nuclear reactors is economically justified. The nuclear share in energy provision of a country is at a fixed price and is reliable. This is due to the high fixed costs. Nuclear fuel uranium currently only accounts for 2% of electricity production costs. Due to its low price and extremely high

6.2 General informutioix about the Nuclear Fuel Cycle


energy density, national demand for uranium can, without doubt, be covered for many years.

6.2 General Information about the Nuclear Fuel Cycle In nuclear power stations electrical current is produced from nuclear energy. Efficient operation requires provision of the nuclear power station with fuel elements and the disposal of spent materials. These operations are brought together in the nuclear fuel cycle, which embraces on the provision side the extraction and dressing of uranium ores to uranium concentrates, their conversion to uranium(V1) fluoride, enrichment of the uranium isotope U235 from 0.7% in natural uranium to ca. 3%, the conversion of uranium(V1) fluoride into nuclear fuel and the production of fuel elements. Disposal comprises the reprocessing of spent fuel elements i.e. the separation and recycling of unused uranium and of the plutonium produced in the reactor and the treatment and secure permanent storage of the radioactive fission products. Since 1994 it has been legally permissible in the Federal Republic of Germany to store the fuel elements directly. It has not yet been decided in the Federal Republic of Germany which option is to be preferred long term.

Nuclear fuel cycle: Provision of the nuclear power station with fuel elements: extraction and dressing of uranium ores, production of UF(,, enrichment of the U2” isotope, production of nuclear fuel from UF6, manufacture of fuel eleinenth.

Nuclear power station waste disposal by: reprocessing of spent elements i.e. separation of U and Pu from one another and from the other radioactive fission products, recycling of the fissile materials in the fuel element production and treatment and permanent storage of radioactive waste.


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle



depleted uranium


radioactive waste

Fig. 6.2-1. Fuel Cycle for Light-water Reactors.

6.3 Availability of Uranium The annual demand for uranium is currently just over 60 . lo3 t (1994: 62 . lo3 t/a). Assuming a doubling of the demand in 30 years, the cumulative requirement of natural uranium from 1996 to 2020 will be 2 . 1 Oh t and 5 . I Oh t to 2040. These prognoses can be compared with the natural reserves in Table 6.3- 1. Uranium is widely distributed in nature. The Earth’s crust contains ca. 4 ppm uranium and seawater 3 ppb uranium. The total inventory in the upper Earth’s crust is in the billions of tons, in the oceans 4 . 1 OY t. However, only a

6.3 Avuilubility of Urunium

small part of this is sufficiently highly concentrated to make extraction worthwhile. Table 6.3- 1 gives a summary of the resource situation. The deposits with over 13O$/kg uranium have up to now, as a result of lack of economic interest, hardly been prospected for. The figures given in Table 6.3-1 have been estimated on the basis of general dependencies between concentration and the size of the deposit. A comparison of possible demand and reserves shows that the currently known reserves will be consumed in the first half of the twenty-first century However, the probable additional reserves are, assuming increasing demand and depending upon the final level, sufficient for several hundred years. An increase in the price of uranium only has a marginal impact on electricity production costs, see Section 6.1.

The known and probable deposits (< 13()$/kg)are sufficient for over 250 year?

Table 6.3-1. Uranium Resources. (from "Energy for Tomorrow's World", WEC 1993) cost class

known reserves probable reserves (in 10%) (in 10%)

up to SO$/kg U (current price 2.5 to 50$/kg U depending on contractual arrangements)


up to I30$/kg U


up to 260$/kg U


so - 100 (based on geological analogies)

The natural uranium requirements of a reactor can be influenced by technical measures. Thus increasing the degree of burn up from 40 to 50 MWd/kg reduces the

prolonging of the loading cycle, on the other hand, increases the uranium requirement. Should the probable reserves not be confirmed or be unusable for other reasons, a technology is available which solves the resource problem anyway, the fast breeder reactor. In fast breeder reactors the known uranium reserves would last for many hundreds of years, even in the event of a vast expansion in nuclear energy provision. The thorium bred from Uranium-233 has lost its importance as a nuclear fuel, because the minor advantages


With fast breeder reactors the known uranium reserves would la\t lor many hundreds of years

6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle


of the reactor type do not outweigh the disadvantages of a second nuclear fuel cycle. Thorium-fed reactors will, in all probability, not play a role in the energy market.

6.4 Nuclear Reactor Types 6.4.1 General Information

Nuclear power stations, worldwide, according to reactor type (situation at beginning of 1996):

light-water reactor boiling water pressurized water graphite AGR, GGR


H2O-graphite heavy water, Candu fast breeder

on under stream construction

93 249

4 44


1 2

20 32 4 428


9 3 64

Two types of light-water reactors: boiling water reactors, pressurized water reactors. H 2 0 used as a neutron moderator and coolant.

Light-water reactors are the most important nuclear reactors

There are a number of different nuclear reactor types. The most widely used is the light-water reactor, but graphitemoderated types, which are cooled with light-water or gas, are in operation, also heavy-water reactors. The graphitemoderated high temperature reactor is in a state of halted development, as are gas-cooled reactors and fast breeder reactors.

6.4.2 Light-water Reactors There are two types of light-water reactor: boiling water and pressurized water reactors. Both reactor types use water both as a coolant and as a moderator for slowing down the fast neutrons ( 2 MeV) produced during nuclear fission to the thermal energies (ca. 0.025 eV) required for the fission of further 23sU-nuclei. The economic importance of lightwater reactors is shown by the fact that of the 490 nuclear reactors operating or under construction in 1996, 390 were light-water reactors. Of the nuclear reactors operating in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1996, 7 were boiling water reactors and 18 were pressurized water reactors. Boiling Water Reactors


Boiling water reactors: ~~0coolant is evaporated at ca, 70 bar i n the reactor core, steam fed directly into turbines.

fuel: 235U-enriched U 0 2

In this reactor type water is brought to its boiling point in the reactor core at a pressure of 70 bar. The resulting steam is directly fed from the pressurized reactor vessel to turbines. Fuel element bundles, each consisting of fuel rods in a lattice-like (6 x 6 to 8 x 7) array are to be found in the reactor core. The core fuel consists of 23sU-enriched

6.4 Nuclear Reactor Types


uranium(1V) oxide. The reactors are controlled and closed down by cross-shaped control rod assemblies, which consist of steel tubes containing neutron-absorbing boron carbide. Pressurized Water Reactors In pressurized water reactors the heat produced in the reactor core is transferred by a closed primary loop at 155 bar and ca. 320°C without steam formation to a nonradioactive secondary loop i n which steam is produced. The water of the primary loop flows through the reactor core and the closely packed square bundles of fuel rods about 3 to 5 m long and lOmm in diameter. A typical fuel element consists of 236 fuel rods and 20 control rods in a 16 x 16 array. 193 such fuel rods totaling 117 t of 23sUenriched uranium(1V) oxide nuclear fuel make up the heat producing core of a 1300 MW nuclear reactor. The control rod tubes contain neutron-absorbing elements, such as boron, with which the chain reaction is regulated (moderated). The components of the primary loop are enclosed in a hermetically sealed cylindrical or spherical pressure containment vessel which is designed to withstand the pressure build-up in the event of damage and to protect the environment from the release of any of the radioactive materials formed inside.

Pi-essurized water reactors: heat produced in the reactor core IS absorbed by a primary coolant loop at 155 bar and ca. 320°C in which no steam is produced and i \ transferred to a nonradioactive secondary loop

Fuel: 2”U-enriched UOz, fuel complement f01- a 1300 MW nuclear power station: I 17 t U02, Primary coolant loop enclosed in ii hermetically sealed safety containment vessel

6.4.3 Graphite-Moderated Reactors Gas-Cooled The first self-sustaining nuclear reactor built by Fermi in Chicago, which came on stream in 1942, was a gas-cooled graphite-moderated reactor. The Magnox reactors, developed in Great Britain and France in the 1950’s and still operating there, operate with C 0 2 as coolant. The gas temperatures attain a maximum of 420°C and the fuel is natural uranium in metal or oxide form. The advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR) are a further development of the Magnox-reactors. They were only built in Great Britain. They utilize lightly-enriched uranium in oxide form. The gas exit temperatures are significantly

Graphite-moderated reactors:

coo,ing agent: co2, moderator: graphite, fuel: originally natural uranium (Magnox-reactor), as metal or UO?, later 23sU-enriched UO? (AGR)


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

higher at 690°C than with the Magnox-reactors, which is advantageous in steam production. In contrast with AGR-reactors, the high temperature reactors (HTR) currently in development, which are also gas-cooled graphite-moderated reactors, helium is the cooling gas, thereby avoiding the troublesome corrosion of graphite by carbon dioxide, according to the equation:

c+coz High temperature reactors: coolant: helium, operates up to 950"C, fuel: highly enriched U/Th-mixed oxides or weakly enriched U 0 2 embedded in so-called coated particles with S i c and graphite, fuel elements: balls or hexaganol blocks .

high potential for nuclear process heat and power-heat-coupling due to inherent physical law safety properties



The fuel in the high temperature reactors consists either of highly enriched uranium together with thorium oxide or weakly enriched uranium(1V) oxide (ca. 10% enrichment). A characteristic of HTR-reactors is the configuration of the fuel. Small fuel particles are utilized 500 pm in diameter and with a uranium(1V) oxide core. These are coated with three thin layers (pyrolytic graphite/silicon carbide/pyro lytic graphite) forming so-called coated particles. These coated fuel particles permit very high fuel burn-up (1 00,000 MWd/t) and exhibit exceptional properties regarding the release of radioactive fission products. Thus in normal operation only about of the fission products is released i.e. only every millionth coated particle releases fission products and even in the event of breakdown these particles can be thermally stressed for several hundred hours at temperatures up to 1600"C, without release of of the fission products contained. more than These particles are embedded i n a graphite matrix, the fuel elements either being manufactured as balls (6 cm in the diameter) or hexagonal blocks (key width 360 mm). High temperature rectors were very successful in Germany as pebble bed reactors (PBR's) with the AVRreactor in Jiilich over 20 years, 50 MW t/h, and with the THTR 300 in Hamm-Ueontrop with 300MW, which was tested electrically for 3 years. The systematic utilization of the physical law-determined safety properties of high temperature reactors was the basis for the development of the HTR-reactor for power-heatcoupling and nuclear process heat up to 950°C in reactor sizes of 200 MWth. This reactor type was approved for industrial and public use in the Federal Republic of Germany by a nuclear-independent commission due to its inherent safety properties.

6.4 Nuclear Reactor Types


The Chernobyl catastrophe and the resulting pressure of public opinion prevented the further development of this interesting reactor line in the Federal Republic of Germany. High temperature reactor technology is currently being developed further, particularly in Japan and China. In Japan a 30 MWth-HTR prototype unit is being commissioned and was scheduled to achieve its first criticality in 1997. In China a 10 MWth-HTR is being built, completion being scheduled for 1999. For these countries the aspects of a very high degree of inherent safety, good utilization of fissile material, flexible utilization in the energy economy, good storage behavior of spent fuel, completely ceramic fuel elements and a simple operating principle are important. Light-Water Cooled RBMK-type reactors were developed in the former USSR and have acquired infamy since the reactor catastrophe at Chernobyl. Currently in the former States of the USSR and Lithuania, 15 reactors of this type are still in operation and a further 5 reactors of its predecessor the GLWR-type. The worst shortcomings of this reactor type, which at the time decisively contributed to the triggering of the catastrophe: the design of the shutting down rods and the void coefficient of reactivity, have in the meantime been modified in all the RBMK-reactors still operating. In these reactors parallel pressure tubes, which form the reactor core and are filled with slightly enriched uranium fuel, are arranged in a cylinder of graphite blocks. Water is used as the coolant. The pressure tubes are designed for 100 to 150 bar. Steam at 500 to 520°C is produced in the reactor.

H20.cooled graphite.modcrated reactors: fuel: slightly enriched Uraniu,n compounds, Codant: "20, under high Pressure: steam at >'500°C, moderator: graphite,

6.4.4 Heavy-Water Reactors Heavy-water reactors utilize heavy water (D20) as a moderator. They can be operated with natural uranium, since the capture cross-section for the thermal neutrons, necessary for controlling nuclear chain reactions, is very low for D20 compared with H20. Enrichment of 235U is therefore not necessary. The high price of heavy water (only present as 0.015% in natural water) is, however, a disadvantage. The resulting higher investment costs

Heavy water reactors: fuel: uraniu,,, or enriched uranium, moderator: DzO production very coatly, hcncc reactor type not widely used.


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

compared with light-water reactors and the lower power density have hindered a wider use of this reactor type (Candu). Only in Canada and India has this reactor type been installed in large numbers.

6.4.5 Fast Breeder Reactors Fast breeder reactors: operated with “fast” neutrons, breeding reaction in a blanket of 2% 01232Th;core consists of suppliers of fast neutrons (239Pu, 231U or ? W ) . Fuel is highly enriched U02 or PuO2, more fiaaile material can be bred than is consumed, new fissile material is bred (23yPu,233U) with unmoderated neutrons.

fast breeder reactors do not need moderators. uranium is almost 100 times better utilized than e.g. in light-water reactorc.

liquid sodium is uhed for heat transfer in both the primary and secondary ~OOpS

Fast breeder reactors are not operated, as e.g. light-water reactors, with slow neutrons, but with unmoderated “fast” neutrons as they occur immediately upon nuclear fission. These fast neutrons are necessary to sustain the chain reaction. The neutron yield per fission is here larger, since more neutrons are left over for the breeding process, once the neutrons lost by absorption and leakage have been subtracted. They are absorbed by 238Uor 232Th, which are converted into fissile 239Pu and 233U respectively. A new fissile material is therefore bred from the non-fissile 238U and 232Th. A breeder reactor consists, therefore, in principle of a fissile material-rich core of 239Pu and 233U or 235U, surrounded by a blanket of 238U or 232Th, from which more fissile material can be bred as it is consumed. Experimentally breeding rates of 1.1 have been attained in breeder reactors. Fast breeder reactors do not contain a moderator. Uranium (ca. 20% 23sU) is used as the fuel, but mainly with 239Pu in the form of a UO2/PuO2 mixture. The breeding blanket consists of depleted uranium from isotope separation plants or from reprocessing plants for spent nuclear fuels. Axially movable boron carbide absorbers are distributed in the fuel zone for shutting down purposes. The uranium utilized can be ca. 100 times better utilized than e.g. in light-water reactors. Since with this high uranium utilization less rich uranium deposits (down to the uranium concentration in seawater) also become economically viable, nuclear energy from breeder reactors is a practically inexhaustible energy source. Light-water cannot be used as a heat transporting agent, since the fast neutrons may not be slowed down. The preferred heat transferring medium is liquid sodium.

6.5 Nuclear Fuel Production

Sodium-cooled fast breeder reactors, in which the heat is transferred via liquid sodium from the primary radioactive loop to an inactive secondary loop onto a conventional waterkteam loop, are technically realizable. This is shown by the experience built up with experimental and prototype plants in the USA (since 1951), the former States of the USSR (since 1958), Great Britain (since 1974), France (since 1967), the Federal Republic of Germany (1977 1991, Karlsruhe) and Japan (since 1977) in reactors producing up to 1200 MW of electricity. The sodium technology is demanding, but is manageable. Russia, France and Japan have the most advanced development programs in the world for fast breeder reactors. In these countries demonstration breeders operate with 600 and 1200 MW electrical outputs (Super-Phenix in France, with 1200 MW). In the Federal Republic of Germany (at Kalkar) a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor was under construction with a capacity of 327MW, but construction was stopped for political and financial reasons shortly before commissioning. Japan has built and is presently commissioning an analogous plant (2XOMW).


Sodium-cooled fast breeder reactors are technically realizable.

Ruhhia, France and Japan operate fast breeder reactors.

6.5 Nuclear Fuel Production The most important fuel for currently operated nuclear power stations (mainly light-water reactors) is 23sUenriched uranium(1V) oxide. Also of importance are metallic uranium for the Magnox reactors and a few research reactors and uranium-plutonium mixed oxides for light-water reactors. Fuel production comprises: extraction and dressing of uranium ores to uranium concentrates, conversion into UF6, the uranium compound used for enrichment of the 23sU-isotope, enrichment of 23sU and production of fuel from enriched UF6 (reconversion). The starting materials for uranium nuclear fuels are uranium compounds from natural uranium deposits and fissile material separated by reprocessing from spent uranium fuel rods.

Provision of nuclear power stations with fuel (235U-enriched UO1 or U-metal): 0 conversion 0 1 uranium concentrate to u Fo. enrichment of 235U-isotope, reconversion of UFc, to UOl or U-metal.

Nuclear fuels from: 0 0

natural uranium, spent uranium fuel rods


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

6.5.1 Production of Uranium Concentrates (“Yellow Cake”) Uranium deposits: vulcanites, pegmatites. discordance, gangue, conglomerate and sandstone deposits, phosphates, coal, bituminous shale, uranium is then worked, if UiOxcontent > 0.5% (for conventional deposits).

Worldwide production of uranium (1997): 32,188 t

Uranium occurs naturally in discordance-pegmatite, vulcanite gangue, conglomerate and sandstone deposits In addition it occurs as phosphates, in coal, bituminous shale and seawater. For extraction with convention mining techniques (underground and overcast mining) contents of at least 0.5% U 3 0 8 are necessary. In addition to conventional mining techniques in-situ leaching (ISLprocess) is used. The ISL-technique is suitable for extracting uranium from sandstone deposits, for which particular mineralogical and geological conditions have to be fulfilled. The most important uranium producing countries in 1997 were: Canada (30%), Niger (9.2%), Russia (9.2%), Kazakhstan (7%), Australia (6.8%), Uzbekistan (6.3%), Namibia (5.9%), South Africa (5.2%), USA (4.3%), France (3.2%). The worldwide production of uranium in 1997 was 32,188 t. Uranium from Uranium Ores Uranium-containing ores are crushed, leached, enriched and precipitated

The ore extracted by open cast or underground mines is coarsely ground in crushers and then finely ground, the thereby released radon being sucked off as a radiation prevention measure. The uranium content is extracted with the help of hydrometallurgical processes, in which the enrichment of uranium via ion exchange or extraction processes and a precipitation process follow the leaching step. Leaching Processes Leaching of uranium ores can proceed with acid or alkali. For tetravalent uranium leaching has to be carried out oxidatively

The leaching of uranium ores proceeds with acid or alkali, depending upon the composition of the ore. Ores with alkaline gangue are preferably leached with alkali. If uranium(1V) compounds are pres’ent, the leaching is carried out under oxidative conditions. Uranium is leached from low grade uranium ores by trickling the leaching medium through heaps of roughly crushed ore or into the seam itself (in situ leaching). Heap leaching is currently only used

6.5 Nuclear Fuel Production

sporadically. In-situ leaching is industrially important particularly in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the USA. In-situ leaching in the seams themselves proceeds with sulfuric acid or carbonate solutions. The leaching agent is fed in via injection tubes into the rock seam and brought to the surface via a central tube. In situ uranium leaching efficiency is 60 to 85%. Currently ca. 5000 t of uranium are extracted in this way.


In situ leaching in seams proceeds with alkali o r a c i d . Uranium leaching efficiency hO to XS%. growing'

Leaching with Acid

Dilute sulfuric acid is generally used as the acidic leaching agent. This digests the uranium(V1) oxide, which mainly occurs in secondary deposits, to uranyl sulfate:


+ HZSO, ---+UO2SO4 + H,O

The uranium in primary pitch blend is mainly present as uranium(1V) oxide and must first be oxidized to hexavalent uranium. This is most easily achieved with the Fe3+ ions, which come from the ore itself:


+ 2 Fe3+--+


Acid leaching: preferred leaching agent: dilute hulfirric acid

UO? from secondary deposits i\ digested to uranyl sulfate

uo2 in primary pitch blend must he initially oxidized with trivalent iron

+ 2 Fe2'

If insufficient trivalent iron is present, it is produced from divalent iron by blowing in air or oxygen or by adding chlorate solution continuously to the leaching sludge. Between 20 and 1100 kg-of sulfuric acid is used per t ore. Acid leaching generally proceeds at atmospheric pressure. Bacterial leaching with thiobacillus thiooxidans is also an acid leaching process. Sulfidic sulfur, e.g. in pyrites, is oxidized to sulfate and iron(l1) is oxidized to iron(lII), which itself oxidizes uranium(1V) to uranium(V1). This process has not yet been operated industrially.

Sulfuricacidconaumption: 20 to I I00 kg/t ore Acid leaching is also possible bacteriologically


6 Nucleur Fuel Cycle

Leuching with Alkali Alkaline leaching with:

NaZCOI. NaHCO?, (NHdKO.3. Uranium(V1) is converted into uranyl tricarbonato-complexes

Leaching with alkali always takes place at high temperatures, either under pressure (5 to 6 bar, 95 to 120°C) or at atmospheric pressure (75 to 80°C). The leaching agent used is sodium carbonate, sodium hydrogen carbonate or ammonium carbonate. Uranium(V1) oxide is converted in this process into uranyl tricarbonatocomplexes:

UO, U(IV) is oxidized in alkali media with oxygen to U(V1)

+ Na2C03+ 2 NaHC03 --+Na,[U02(C0,)3] + H 2 0

The ur-anium(1V) is first oxidized in the alkaline medium by ambient oxygen to uranium(V1). Leaching with alkali under pressure has been carried out for a long time. Separation of Uranium from the Leaching Solutions Separation of uranium from the leaching solutions by: ion exchange, extraction. Combinations of ion exchange and ion extraction are also used. Uranium separation by ion exchange: strongly or weakly basic ion exchange resins are used. Elution with nitrate or chloride solutions

Ion exchange by three processes:

in fixed beds, in suspension, continuous.

Ion exchange and extraction with organic solvents have proved effective in separating uranium from the leaching solutions. Combinations of the ion exchange process with solvent extraction are also known. This is normally preceded by separation of the leaching solution from solids by multistage filtration or countercurrent decantation followed by clarification e.g. over a bed of sand. Separation by ion exchange: Strongly basic or weakly basic ion exchange resins are used to separate selectively the uranium from the weakly acidic or alkaline solutions from the leaching step. The uranium is eluted from the ion exchange resins with nitrate or chloride solutions as anionic (carbonato- or sulfato-) complexes. The ion exchange is carried out according to different processes. Separation from solid-free solutions can, in addition to conventional fixed bed processes, be carried out continuously with cylindrical columns’ mounted in series. Ion exchange can also be carried out on unclarified turbid leaching solutions, if baskets with ion exchange resin are moved in the turbid leaching solution or by continuous ion exchange. The advantage of the ion exchange process is that uranium can be extracted from very dilute solutions as well as from turbid unclarified solutions.

6.5 Nuclear Fuel Production

Sepurution by solvent extruction: Uranium can be extracted from aqueous solutions using extraction agents into the solvent phase, from which it can be stripped. The extraction agents used are phosphorus compounds such as di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phosphate, tri-n-butyl-phosphate and trin-octylphosphine oxide as well as primary, secondary and tertiary amines in salt form or as quaternary ammonium salts. The extraction agents are diluted with inert hydrocarbons, preferably kerosene, to concentrations of 4 to 10% by volume. The solubility of the amine salts, particularly the hydrogen sulfates, chlorides and nitrates is increased by adding long chain alcohols (e.g. isodecanol). The extraction processes, which are mainly carried out in mixer-settler plants, are preferably carried out with acidic leaching solutions. For the different processes see the marginal notes. Stripping of the uranium compounds proceeds by mixing the separated uranium-containing organic phase with an aqueous solution of sodium chloride, sodium carbonate or ammonium sulfate at a slightly acid or alkaline pH. The uranium present in the organic phase, e.g. as (R3NH)4[UO*(S04)3), goes into the aqueous phase, e.g. in the form of a carbonato-complex:


Uranium separation by extraction: extraction agents: phosphorus compounds, amineh. Following processes are utiliied: AMEX: amine extraction, PURLEX: amine extraction, DAPEX: dialkylphosphate extraction, ELUEX: combination of ion exchange with extraction, BUFLEX: combination of ion exchange with extraction.

Stripping of the uranium compounds from the organic phase with aqueous salt solutions Manufacture of Marketable Uranium Compounds (“Yellow Cake”) High quality requirements particularly as regards uranium concentration and the maximum quantities of undesirable ions such as Mo, V and P are stipulated by the processors for the end product, so-called “yellow cake” produced by the uranium ore mines. Uranium is generally precipitated as diuranates from the aqueous solutions produced by the ion exchange and solvent extraction processes under precise conditions. The diuranate can be precipitated from alkaline solutions by two processes: 1. with sodium hydroxide at pH > 12 and 80°C:

Uranium concentrate, “yellow cake”, must he very pure.

Precipitation of uranium from alkaline solution as diuranate with: NaOH, NH3 or MgO after prior acidification of the solution.


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

2 Na, [UO,(CO,),]

+ 6 NaOH _ j

Na2U207+6 Na2C03+ 3 H,O

2. with ammonia or magnesium acidification of the solutions.

Uranium can de separated from alkaline solutions as UO2 by reduction of carbonato-coinplexes with H2. instead of as diuranates

Uranium precipitated from acid solutions as diuranates: NH?atpHS, Mg(OH)?, Ca(OH)2.

Before diuranate precipitation the excess sulfate and iron have to be removed.

oxide after prior

In the first process vanadium is coprecipitated and the sodium diuranate contains a nominal stoichiometric excess of sodium. The vanadium can be removed by roasting the “yellow cake” in the presence of sodium carbonate at 850°C followed by washing. The sodium carbonate solution from the washing is converted into sodium hydrogen carbonate and the sodium hydroxide solution into sodium carbonate by passing hot carbon dioxide into the solutions, which are returned to the leaching process. The consumption of solid sodium hydroxide is I0 to 20 kg/t ore. In the second process the alkaline solution is mixed with acid and the carbon dioxide liberated driven of by boiling. The resulting acidic solution is then neutralized with ammonia or magnesium oxide, whereupon uranium precipitates together with molybdenum and vanadium. The process is therefore only used if uranium ores have low concentrations of molybdenum and vanadium. Uranium can also be obtained as uranium(1V) oxide from the alkaline solutions by reduction with hydrogen at 140 to 150°C under pressures of 6 to 10 bar in the presence of a nickel catalyst:

This very expensive process is no longer carried out industrially. In the case of acidic solutions, uranium is generally precipitated with ammonia at pH 5 as ammonium diuranate, but magnesium and calcium hydroxides are also used as the precipitating agent:

Should it be necessary, excess sulfate and iron can be removed by preliminary precipitation with milk of lime or magnesium oxide to gypsum and iron hydroxide. If the phosphate concentration is too high, it can be precipitated as iron phosphate by adding iron ions. A better crystalline

6.5 Nuclear Fuel Production


ammonium diuranate is obtained by simultaneously blowing in air or steam during the precipitation. In the case of salt-rich acidic uranium solutions, precipitation can be carried out with hydrogen peroxide, this type of precipitation being very selective.

U02S04+ H202--+ U 0 4 + HzSO4 The thereby formed sulfuric acid is neutralized by adding magnesium hydroxide. Independently of the production method, the precipitated uranium concentrate is washed to remove adhering salt solution and then dried. The precipitates produced with ammonia are subsequently calcined in a multiple hearth kiln at 7S0°C, ammonia, sulfite and chloride being driven off and U308 being formed:

9 (NH,),UZ07

46 U 3 0 8

Diuranate precipitates are washed and dried: ammonium diuranate at ca. 750°C; converted into U30x. sodium diuranate and umnoxy-hydrate at 120 to 175°C.

+ 14 NH, + 15 HZO + 2 N,

With sodium diuranate or uranoxy-hydrate a drying temperature of 120 to 175°C is sufficient. Independently of their color (calcined uranium oxide is dark-green to black), the resulting uranium concentrate is known as “yellow cake”. The name refers to the yellow color of the uranium precipitate. Uranium from Phosphate Ores and Wet Phosphoric Acid Uranium is present in apatites, because the ionic radius of uranium(1V) is cornparable to that of the calcium ion. In the wet process the apatite is digested with dilute sulfuric acid producing wet process phosphoric acid. Raw phosphoric acid produced by the wet process contains, depending upon the ore used, between 50 and 200 ppm U308. The uranium can be recovered from wet process acid by extraction. The extraction agents used are preferably a mixture of trioctylphosphine oxide (TOPO) and di-(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate (DEHPA) in kerosene (process developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory) or a mixture of mono- and dioctylphenylesters of phosphoric acid. Further developments of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory process are the reduction stripping and oxidation stripping processes.

Ionic radius of U4+comparable with Ca’+; hence U4+ in apatites.

Wet process phosphoric acid froin apatites contains 50 to 200 ppm U ~ O X Separation of U 3 0 x froin raw wet process phosphoric acid: I . by extraction with mixture of trioctylphosphine oxide and di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phosphate, mixture of mono- and dioctylphenylesters of phwphoric acid.


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

2. hy the reduction stripping process: oxidation of U1+ to U"+, extraction of Uh+ with trioctylphosphine oxide/di-(2-ethylhexyl)phosphatein kerosene, reduction stripping ofthe organic phase with Fe2* in water, reoxidation of U4+ to U", renewed extraction of Uh+, stripping of the organic phase with aqueous ( N H ~ ~ C O(NH~)~LUO~(COI)II I: precipitates out.

3. by the oxidation stripping process: with moddioctyphenyl phosphoric acid ester mixture, oxidation of U4+ to Uf'+ in aqueous phosphoric acid, extraction with trioctylphosphine oxide/di-(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate.

In the reduction stripping process uranium(1V) in the raw wet process acid is oxidized to uranium(V1) by treatment with sodium chlorate, hydrogen peroxide or air at 60 to 70°C, the uranium(V1) formed being extracted with trioctylphosphine oxide/di-(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate in kerosene and the resulting solution finally reductively stripped repeatedly with aqueous iron(I1) solutions. This results in an enrichment by a factor of 40. After oxidation of the stripped solution with sodium chlorate or ambient oxygen and renewed extraction of the uranium(V1) formed with trioctylphosphine oxide/di-(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate, the phosphoric acid is removed from the organic phase by washing. The uranium(V1) is then stripped with ammonium carbonate and precipitated as the ammonium diuranyltricarbonato-complex. This is filtered off, washed and calcined. In the oxidation stripping process the uranium(V1) in the raw wet process acid is initially reduced to uranium(IV), which is extracted with a mixture of mono and dioctylphenyl esters of phosphoric acid in kerosene. Oxidation with sodium chlorate in phosphoric acid transfers the uranium to the aqueous phase and it is then extracted with trioctylphosphine oxide/di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phosphate, as in the reduction stripping process. Uranium from Seawater Uranium content in seawater very low compared with other deposits: seawater phosphates conventional uranium ores

0-Oo3 ppm

100 - 200 ppm

3s0 - 5000 PPm

Uranium is present in seawater as uranyl carbonate or carbonato-complexes.

The average uranium-content in seawater is at 0.003 ppm significantly lower than in conventional uranium ores (350 to-5000 ppm) or in phosphates (100 to 200 ppm). About 27 . lo3 t of uranium is fed annually into the sea via rivers. The uranium in seawater is present, depending upon the pH and carbon dioxide concentration, as U02C03, ~ u o ~ ~ c o ~or)~~uHo ~ (~cIo*~- ) ~ I ~ - . It is technically feasible to extract uranium from seawater. There are, however, sufficient quantities of terrestrial uranium deposits, with extraction costs well below the extraction costs of uranium from seawater.

6.5 Nuclear Fuel Production


6.5.2 Conversion of Uranium Concentrates to Uranium Hexafluoride General Information The main task in the conversion of uranium concentrate (“yellow cake”) to UF6 is the purification of the concentrate and its conversion into a chemically suitable form for further processing or enrichment of the 235U-isotope for the different reactor types. Isotope enrichment proceeds in the gas phase via uranium(V1) fluoride, the only uranium compound which boils at low temperatures and is stable in the vapor phase. It is advantageous that fluorine only occurs naturally in a single isotope. Two processes are employed for the production of uranium(V1) fluoride, namely the wet and dry processes. In both processes uranium(1V) oxide and uranium(1V) fluoride are formed as intermediates. In the wet process the uranium(1V) oxide is produced from the uranium concentrate by way of uranyl nitrate, whereas in the dry process the uranium concentrate is directly reduced to uranium(1V) oxide. The methods of purification used are also different: in the wet process the purification proceeds at the uranyl nitrate stage, by solvent extraction, whereas in the dry process the end product uranium hexafluoride is itself distillatively purified.

Conversion of uranium concentrates into UFh. which is used for: uranium purification, ?’SU-isotope enrichment

Conversion to UF(, by two procewx: wet process: uranium concentrate 3 UO?(NOl): (purification) + UO2 + UFd 4 UFn dry process: uranium concentrate + UO? + UFd UF, (purification) Wet Process for Uranium(V1) Fluoride Manufacture In the production of uranium(1V) oxide in the wet process, the uranium concentrate is first converted into a uranyl nitrate solution with nitric acid. After the purification of the uranyl nitrate by solvent extraction, it can be converted into uranium(1V) oxide by two different routes: either by thermal denitration to uranium(V1) oxide which is then reduced to uranium(1V) oxide or by conversion of uranyl nitrate into ammonium diuranate which is reduced to uranium(1V) oxide. Purification proceeds by extraction of the uranyl nitrate hydrate from the acidic solution with trin-butylphosphate in kerosene and stripping this organic phase with water, whereupon uranium goes into the aqueous phase.

Wet process: two route$ of U02(N01j? to UO?

I st route: UO?(NO?)? 6 H z 0




UO? 2nd route (Comurhex process):

UO?(NO?)?. 6 H 2 0


iNHJ)2U207 UOZ



6 Nucleur Fuel Cycle

This diluted aqueous uranyl nitrate solution is evaporated to uranyl nitrate hexahydrate, U02(N03)2 . 6H20, which is then calcined to uranium(V1) oxide in a tluidized bed furnace: UO,(NO,), ' 6 HlO

Conversion of U02to UF4 proceeds with anhydrous hydrogen fluoride (dry process) i n fluidized bed, screw-reactor or moving bed reactor Moving bed reactors possess above one another: a reduction zone for reduction of UOi with hydrogen and a hydrofluorination zone for UFJ production.

Wet process for UF4-manufacture (EXCER-process): purification of uranium(V1) in solution


reduction to uraniurn(1V)


precipitation of UF4 . 0.7SH20


dehydration to UF4

Manufacture of UF6 from UF4 + F2 in tlame-reactors or fluidized bed reactor.,


UO3 + NO

+ NO2 + 6 H20 + 0 2

The temperature must not exceed 400"C, to prevent the formation of U 3 0 ~The . nitrous gases produced are processed to nitric acid, which is recycled. The subsequent reduction of uranium(V1) oxide to uranium(1V) oxide with hydrogen at 500°C also proceeds in the fluidized bed furnace. The second route to uranium(1V) oxide consists of precipitation of ammonium diuranate from the solvent extraction-purified aqueous uranyl nitrate solution by adding ammonia and then reducing it with hydrogen to uranium(1V) oxide (Comurhex process developed in France). Uranium(1V) oxide is the starting material for uranium(1V) fluoride production in which uranium(1V) oxide is generally reacted with anhydrous hydrogen fluoride. This difficult to carry out exothermic reaction proceeds either in a fluidized bed, in moving bed reactors, or in screw-reactors. To achieve as complete as possible reaction in fluidized bed reactors, two fluidized bed reactors are connected in series. Screw-reactors are also preferably connected in series. In moving bed reactors the reduction zone and the hydrofluorination are arranged above one another in a plant. The uranium(1V) oxide produced by the reduction of uranium(V1) oxide with hydrogen is very reactive and is completely reacted with HF at temperatures between 500 and 650°C to uranium(1V) fluoride. A wet process is also utilized for the production of uranium(1V) fluoride, namely the EXCER process (Ion Exchange Conversion Electrolytic Reduction). In this process the ion exchange- or extraction-purified uranium(V1) solution is either electrolytically or chemically reduced to uranium(IV), which is precipitated with hydrofluoric acid as uranium(1V) fluoride hydrate (UF4 . 0.75H20). This is subsequently dehydrated at 400 to 450°C. The conversion of uranium(1V) tluoride to uranium(V1) fluoride proceeds exclusively with elemental fluorine,

6.5 Nucletrr Fuel Production

either in flame-reactors or in fluidized bed reactors. The uranium(V1) fluoride formed is recovered from the reaction gases by freezing it out. The wet process for uranium(V1) fluoride manufacture is utilized in the Kerr-McGee process, in which the reduction proceeds with a H*/N*-mixture from ammonia cracking and hydrofluorination is carried out in a two stage fluidized bed. British Nuclear Fuel Ltd and Eldorado Nuclear Ltd/Canada also use wet processes.


Wet procesaea: Ken-McGee process, British Nuclear Fuel procc\\, Eldorado Nuclear process.

0 Dry Process for Uranium(V1) Fluoride Manufacture In the dry process, introduced by Allied Chemical Corp., the uranium concentrate is pelletized and directly reduced with hydrogen to uranium(1V) oxide at temperatures between 540 and 650°C in a fluidized bed reactor. Hydrofluorination to uranium(1V) fluoride proceeds in two fluidized bed reactors connected in series. After fluorinating the uranium(1V) fluoride formed in a production unit consisting of a flame-reactor and a tluidiLed bed reactor, the uranium(V1) fluoride produced is purified in a two stage pressure distillation process. This distillative purification process is necessary, because, in contrast with the wet process, no purification is carried out in earlier stages. The uranium conversion capacity in Western industrialized countries in 199.5 was nominally 385 lo3 t/a UF6, of which about 73% is accounted for by wet processes. The capacity in the former States of the USSR is estimated to be ca. 14 . lo3 t/a UF6. In 199.5 the total conversion was 5 1.3 . lo3 t UF6.

Dry process for production of UF(, froin Allied Chemical Corp.: uranium concentrate


reduction to UOz


hydrofluorination to UFJ


fluorination to UF6


UF6 purification by fractional distillation

Uranium conversion capacities in 1995 (in 10’ t/a): USA 11.5 Canada 9.5 s.5 Great Britain France 12.0 Western industrialized countries: 38.5 former States of USSR: other countries


I .s

6.5.3 235U-Enrichment Enrichment of the 235U-isotope from the 0.7 1 1 % in natural uranium to ca. 4% can proceed by gas diffusion, with a gas centrifuge and with separation nozzles. The separation nozzle process is no longer important. Pure uranium(V1) fluoride is utilized. In the gas diflusion process uranium(V1) fluoride is forced through a cascade of fine pore membranes connected directly in series. This process exploits the

Enrichment of 2’5U-isotopes from 0.7 I I c/r in natural uranium to ca. 4% proceeds via:

gas diffusion process,


6 Nucleur Fuel Cycle

gas centrifuge process

no.//le separation proce\h.

L a m separation of isotopes is in development. Uranium enrichment capacities in 1995 ( I 0' t SWU/a):

USA France FRG/Great Britain/Netherlands (Urenco): Russia: Japan:

19.2 10.8

3.5 14.0 0.6

different diffusion rates of isotopes with different masses. To achieve an 235U-enrichmentof 3 to S%, this process has to be repeated 1000 to 1500 times and is very energy intensive. The gas centrifuge process uses long multipy overcritically rotating cylinders, in which the heavy uranium isotope 238U is enriched at the cylinder wall and the lighter isotope 23sU is enriched at the center of the centrifuge. Enrichment to 3 to 5% 23sU is achieved in less than ten stages connected in series. The energy consumption is ca. SO kWh/kg SWU (SWU = separation work units). The nozzle sepurutiorz process utilizes the centrifugal forces which occur upon diversion of a gas stream. A gas stream of uranium(V1) fluoride, helium and hydrogen is directed along a curved wall and then split by a peeling off plate into two gas streams with enrichment of the heavier and lighter isotopes respectively. Laser separation of isotopes for enrichment of 23sU is in development and is not yet ripe for industrial exploitation In 1995 the worldwide enrichment capacity was ca. 48.1 . 103 t SWU/a. The annual requirement of a 1300 MW reactor is ca. 120 t SWU. The separation work is dependent upon the degree of depletion.

6.5.4 Reconversion of Uranium(V1) Fluoride into Nuclear Fuel Into Uranium(1V) Oxide General Information

Conversion of UF, into UO: by: two wet processes, a dry process.

In the manufacture of enriched UOz avoidance of critical mass has to be taken into account.

There are three processes which are industrially convert enriched uranium(V1) fluoride into sinterable uranium(1V) oxide: two wet processes and one dry process. In all processes criticality avoidance safety features have to be incorporated, as in general when enriched uranium is being processed, i.e. there must be measures for hindering an uncontrolled chain reaction, which occurs upon attaining the critical mass. This is dependent upon the degree of '"Uenrichment, the chemical form of the uranium, the degree of moderation and geometric dimensions. Thus by increasing the surface area of a vessel, the loss of neutrons to the surroundings is increased with the result that the

6.5 Nuclear Fuel Production

6I 1

neutron population necessary for achieving a critical condition is not attained. The diameter of apparatuses or the height of the filtration layer is thus limited and additional heterogeneous neutron poisons are incorporated into the vessel e.g. boron carbide or cadmium. Uranium(1V) Oxide by Wet Processes In the wet processes poorly soluble uranium compounds are precipitated, whereby the fluoride left in the filtrate is reacted with lime to fluorspar or processed to other inorganic fluorine compounds by fluorine processing companies. Ammonium diurunate (ADU) process: This process was developed in the USA in the 1950's and is currently still the most important process. However, the raw uranium(1V) oxide produced with this process contains up to 2% by weight of fluoride and hence requires aftertreatment before it is suitable for pressing into fuel pellets. This disadvantage is not shared by the other two processes. New reconversion plants do not, therefore, in the main, utilize the ADUprocess. In the ADU process the uranium(V1) fluoride from the enrichment plant is first evaporated and hydrolyzed with water: UF,

+ 2 HZO +UOZFZ + 4 HF

precipitation of poorly soluble uranium compounds firom the hydrolysis of UFO: ADU pi-ocess, AUC proce\s.

ADU-proce\\ supplie\ fuoride-containing UO?;its importance is hence on the wane

ADU process: hydrolysis of UF(, to UOzF:


conversion with NH1 to "(NH4)2U?07"


filtration, extraction, rccry\talli/ation to reduce the fluoride content




reductive decomposition with Hz/HzO to U?OX

The U02F2 solution is treated with ammonia, whereupon ammonium diuranate precipitates out, although not in a strictly stoichiometric composition:

2 UOZFZ + 8 HF + 14 NH3 + 3 HZO + (NH4)Z U207

Wet processes for the production of UO?:

+ 12 NH,F

The precipitate is largely freed of fluoride ions after filtration by extraction or recrystallization. After drying at 200°C, the ammonium diuranate is reductively decomposed by a H*/H20 mixture at ca 500°C to U3O8, which is then reduced with hydrogen at 500 to 800°C to uranium(1V) oxide. The reductive decomposition to U3O8 and its reduction can be carried out in a single step e.g. in a rotary kiln. Since the uranium(1V) oxide formed can be pyrophoric, it is weakly reoxidized.


reduction to UOz


wcak reoxidation


6 Nucleur Fuel Cycle

AUC process supplies low fluoride UOz: UFh reacted with COz, NH3, H 2 0 to (NHJ)3lUOZ(CO1)31


filtration, washing


decomposition in H2/H20to UOz


Ammonium urunyl carbonate ( A U C ) process: This process was developed in the 1960's in the Federal Republic of Germany. It comprises the simultaneous feeding of uranium(V1) fluoride, carbon dioxide and ammonia into an aqueous ammonium carbonate solution at 70"C, whereupon tetra-ammonium tricarbonato-dioxouranate (ammonium uranyl carbonate) precipitates out:

weak reoxidation

The properties of the product are significantly influenced by the precipitation conditions, which therefore have to be carefully controlled. The filtered and with a ammonium carbonate solution-washed product contains less than 0.5% by weight of fluoride. The ammonium uranyl carbonate is reductively converted to uranium(1V) oxide via uranium(V1) oxide in a fluidized bed kiln at 500 to 700°C by feeding in water as the fluidizing medium and using hydrogen or a H2/N2mixture, from the cracking of ammonia, as the reducing agent. At this high temperature the fluoride content is further reduced to 100 ppm by the action of the water vapor. The resulting fine particulate uranium(1V) oxide can be pyrophoric and therefore on cooling is weakly reoxidized at temperatures below 100°C. Uranium(1V) Oxide by the Dry (IDR) Process IDR process:

reactionof UF6 gas with superheated to solid U O ~ F ZRcduction . to U02.

The TDR (Integrated Dry Route) process consists of reacting gaseous uranium(V1) fluoride with superheated steam, whereupon solid U02F2 is formed, which is reduced with hydrogen to uranium(1V) oxide. This reaction can be carried out in both a fluidized bed reactor and in a rotary kiln, whereby the latter appears more suitable. Manufacture of Uranium(1V) Oxide Pellets UOz-sintered pellets are produced by Pressing and sintering in the Presence of H? at ca. 1700°C

The uranium(1V) oxide produced by the above-described processes is used for the manufacture of uranium(1V) oxide sintered pellets. The uranium(1V) oxide is ground, pressed in e.g. hydraulic presses, then sintered at ca. 1700°C in the presence of hydrogen and thereby shrink to the desired

6.5 Nuclear Fuel Production

6 13

density. The pellets (diameter 10 mm, tolerance 10 to 25 pm) are ground with a cylindrical grinder, then washed and dried. Other Uranium Nuclear Fuels Uranium metal: Metallic uranium as a nuclear fuel is unimportant compared with uranium(1V) oxide. It is manufactured by reducing uranium(1V) fluoride with metallic magnesium or calcium, whereby the mixture as a result of the temperature increase (Mg), or with the help of ignition pellets, burns up producing liquid uranium metal:



Uranium metal unitnportant as a fuel "Inpared with uranium('V) Manufactured by reduction of uranium(1v) fluoride with Mg


The starting material for the manufacture of 23sUenriched uranium metal, uranium(1V) fluoride, is produced by reducing enriched uranium(V1) fluoride with hydrogen or chlorohydrocarbons. Urunium-nlutonium mixed oxides: Uranium-Dlutonium mixed oxide's (MOX) are becoming increasingly important, since plutonium is produced during the reprocessing of spent fuel elements. In these mixed oxide fuel elements a mixture of uranium(1V) and plutonium(1V) oxides with a plutonium content of 3 to 4% is utilized instead of ca. 4% 235U-enriched uranium(1V) oxide. Such fuel elements have similar nuclear physical properties to the standard elements with 235U and can therefore be used in their place. In their manufacture uranium(1V) oxide is mixed with the appropriate quantity of plutonium(1V) oxide, the mixture pressed into pellets and then sintered (termed coprocessing in the USA). Uranium(1V) oxide is produced by one of the above-described processes and plutonium(1V) oxide from the aqueous nitrate solution produced during reprocessing by precipitating it as plutonium oxalate and calcining the oxalate. These mixed oxides can also be manufactured by mixing the uranium and nitrate solutions produced during the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuels and converting these metal nitrate mixtures into a mixed oxide (coprecipitation). In this process the plutonium is first reoxidized, then gaseous ammonia and carbon dioxide are introduced into the aqueous nitrate mixture, whereupon ammonium uranylplutonyl carbonate is precipitated. This can be calcined to

~~~&""''~~e~~~~~?!~~~. e;:{zd

Manufacture of U-Pu mixed oxides:

I . By mixing U 0 2 and Pu02

2. by mixing the nitrate solutions of U and Pu


precipitation of ammonium uranyl-plutonyl carbonate with NH? and COz


calcined t o U-Pu mixed oxide


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

uranium(1V)-plutonium(1V) mixed oxides at temperatures aboveS00"C.

6.5.5 Fuel Element Manufacture Fuel elements consist of nuclear fuel in cladding tubes

Fuel elements consist of a bundle of fuel rods

The nuclear fuel pellets are generally filled in thin-walled cladding tubes to hinder leaching by coolant in the reactor core and to prevent release of fission products into the coolant circuit. In light-water reactors, for example, zirconium alloy (zirkaloy) cladding is used. The fuel rods for boiling and pressurized water reactors are constructed similarly. They are filled with helium to improve the heat transfer from the pellets to the cladding tube and to withstand better the pressure in the reactor and contain no fuel at the top end of the fuel rods to improve fission gas retention. The latter can be ensured by holding the fuel in place with the aid of a spiral spring. Both ends of the cladding tube are welded gas tight. The fuel rods for pressurized water reactors are manufactured with a helium pressure of ca. 23 bar and ca. S bar for fuel rods for boiling water reactors. The actual fuel elements in pressurized water reactors consist of individual fuel rods and control rod tubes mounted in a self-supporting construction of spacers fitted with a top and feet. Fuel elements for boiling water reactors, by comparison, have no control rod tubes, the fuel element zirkaloy claddings being used to guide the control rods and the coolant.

6.6 Disposul o j Waste,fromNuclear Power Stations

6 15

6.6 Disposal of Waste from Nuclear Power Stations 6.6.1 General Information The spent fuel elements contain in addition to radioactive fission products considerable quantities of fissile uranium and plutonium, which are produced in the nuclear reactor. For a burn up, which gives the ratio of the energy produced with the nuclear fuel to the mass of heavy metals in the nuclear fuel, of e.g. 33,000 MWd per t uranium, a spent fuel, originally consisting of 3.2% 235U and 96.8% 238U, still contains 0.76% uranium, 0.9% plutonium (70% fissile) and about 3.5% of fission products. To recycle the not yet utilized 235U and the bred plutonium, they have to be separated from each other and from the fission products. The legal basis for waste disposal from nuclear power stations in the Federal Republic of Germany is laid down in the Atom law, the waste concept of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, which establishes the legal basis for the disposal for nuclear power station waste. The disposal of waste in the conventional sense (from a 1000 MW reactor, for example, fuel elements with in total ca. 30 t of spent fuel and 12.5 t of cladding materials have to be taken away and replaced) consists of interim storage of the spent fuel elements, the reprocessing of nuclear fuel with recycling of the separated fissile products in the fuel element production, or the permanent storage of spent fuel elements and the handling and permanent storage of radioactive waste. The German electricity industry in 1989 gave up its original plans for building its own reprocessing plant in favor of a European solution and transferred the reprocessing to plants in France and Great Britain. The contracts cover all reprocessing quantities up to and including the year 2005. In addition there are options for extending these reprocessing arrangements for a further ten years. The precedence of reprocessing spent fuel elements to dispose of the radioactive waste was abandoned in the middle of 1994. Since then direct permanent storage has been awarded equal legal precedence to a waste disposal option on the basis of reprocessing. It is expected that the electricity industry will make increasing use of this

Transmutation o f nuclear fuel in a reactor: after burn u p (33 000 MWd/t U) A 0.76% 235U 3.2% 235U 0.44% ?W --+ 2.0% fission products original fuel


4 +

96.8% 23xU

1.5%. fission products 94.3% ??XU 0.9% Pu 0. I % Np, Am, Cm

Disposal of nuclear power station waste in conventional sense consists of: interim storage of spent fuel elements, reprocessing the spent nuclear fuel, recycling of spent fissile material in the production of fuel elements, direct permanent storage of spent fuel elements, handling and end storage of radioactive waste.

Since 1994 direct permanent storage on an equal footing in the Federal Republic of Gemmany

6 16

6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

The conventional waste di\posal in energy and economically more advantageous: considerable saving in - natural uranium; - separation energy for ?3Wenrichinent, utilization of' fast breeder reactors possible and thereby 60 times increase in uranium-utilization.

Direct permanent storage is currently leas expensive than further processing

plutonium misuse is avoided

possibility. In the context of research and development work regarding component development, the feasibility of permanent storage has been demonstrated. The nuclear power station operators in the Federal Republic of Germany an required to provide proof of their arrangements for the disposal of spent fuel elements for the coming 6 years on a rolling basis. This is a legally binding prerequisite for the operation of nuclear power stations. The disposal evidence is currently provided almost exclusively via contracts with the reprocessing plants in France and Great Britain. Cost comparison studies have shown that direct permanent storage offers significant cost advantages over reprocessing. The current low uranium price due to overproduction also favors direct permanent storage. A shortage of uranium, on the other hand, would favor the recycling of reprocessed nuclear fuel. In addition to the cost considerations, other criteria have to be weighed up. It would be favorable to the energy industry and the economy to reprocess the spent fuel elements and thereby reuse the recovered energy raw materials. This recycling of uranium and plutonium represents a considerable saving in natural uranium: ca. 17% upon recycling uranium and ca. 34% upon recycling uranium and plutonium. The aim of fuel use is as high as possible utilization of the fuel. Technical development is not yet at an end. Average burn ups of 50,00OMWd/t uranium appear thoroughly realistic. The economic and ecological usefulness of reprocessing highly spent fuel elements can only be evaluated, when this has been achieved. The then pertaining circumstances have also to be taken into account in the decision regarding waste disposal options together with the physically less favorable composition of the plutonium isotope in the case of higher burn-up. It is, however, also important that through the return of plutonium in the fuel elements to light-water reactors, the possible misuse of plutonium is avoided in the future.

6.6 Disposal o j Wastefrom Nucleur Power Stutions

6 17

6.6.2 Stages in Nuclear Waste Disposal Interim Storage of Spent Fuel Elements The spent fuel elements have to be temporarily stored during the decay of short-lived, very energetic radioactivity and associated afterheating for several years in the case of reprocessing and for several decades in the case of direct permanent storage. The interim storage generally takes place initially under water in so-called decay pools at nuclear power stations. There are decades of experience with wet storage. No weakening of the cladding tubes or structural components of a fuel element has been observed. To increase the interim storage capacity at nuclear power stations compact storage frames have been incorporated into the decay pools. Further storage capacity has been provided by the construction of external interim storage sites at Ahaus and Gorleben each for 1000 t of heavy metals. An expansion of the storage capacity by changing the storage concepts is in motion. Interim storage will then take place in specially developed large containers (e.g. CASTOR) for transport and long term-storage. They are so designed to safely encapsulate the radioactive materials even in the event of a very serious accident, to dissipate the afterheat from the heating elements and to keep the external radiation to a legally permissible level. Loaded containers of this type weigh up to 120 t.

Interim storage of spent fuel elements is initially carried out in pools of water at nuclear power stations

Compact storage sites have been built at nuclear power stations to increase the storage capacity Reprocessing of Spent Fuel Elements The essential functions of the reprocessing of spent fuel elements is to separate uranium and plutonium from one another and both of them from the radioactive fission products. For this purpose, the PUREX process (Plutonium and Uranium Recovery by Extraction), based on extractive separation, has become accepted worldwide. It is currently used in all modern reprocessing plants. The Purex process was developed between 1945 and 1949 in the USA for military purposes and since 1954 has been operated industrially in more than 10 countries in reprocessing plants of various sizes. Decades of experience with this process exist in the USA, Great Britain and France. In the Federal Republic of Germany operational

Purex process utilized for reprocessing

Decades of experience operating the Purex process

61 8

6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Reprocessing capacity in t/a: France: Great Britain

I600 700

Sufficient for the next 30 to 40 years.

Purex process consists of the steps: cutting up of the fuel elements with - rod shears, - bundle shears,

dissolution of fuel in boiling nitric acid,

experience has been acquired over 20 years with the reprocessing plant at Karlsruhe. The Purex process is also used in Japan and Russia. At the end of the 1970's the civil reprocessing plant in the USA was closed down for political reasons. The spent fuel elements have been stored since then at interim storage sites. The only reprocessing plants operated in Western Europe, those in France and Great Britain, have successively expanded their capacities and have currently a joint capacity of 2300 t heavy metal per year. With the plants UP 2-800 and UP 3 (each with a capacity of 800 t/a) in France and Thorp (with 700 t/a) in Great Britain, there is sufficient capacity in Europe to reprocess the waste of 100 nuclear power stations and thereby to cover the total demand for the next 30 to 40 years. Japan disposes over an operating pilot plant and an industrial plant has been in the planning phase for a number of years. The Purex process is in principle also suitable for the reprocessing of fuel from fast breeder reactors, as shown by the results from development work in France, Great Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany. The important differences compared with the reprocessing of light-water reactor fuel elements are a ca. ten-fold greater plutonium content and much shorter spent fuel element cooling times before reprocessing (these should only be ca. 6 months to 1 year). Purex process: The actual reprocessing process begins with the cutting up of the fuel elements taken from entry basins. This can be carried out in two process variants: cutting up in ca. 5 cm long pieces with rod shears, whereby initially the head pieces are separated off and the individual fuel rods withdrawn from the rod bundle, or direct cutting with hydraulic bundle shears. In the second step the nuclear fuel is selectively dissolved in hot nitric acid in an apparatus with criticality avoidance features, the zirkaloy cladding tubing not being dissolved. The dissolution process itself can also be carried out in two process variants: cutting of the fuel elements in a given quantity of acid in the dissolver or cutting and then adding acid. The second process variant has the advantage that the gases liberated during the dissolution (nitrogen(I1) oxide, *5Krypton, I3IXenon, tritium, '2910dine) are continuously liberated. The cladding is left behind in the dissolution process in so-called dissolver baskets. All of the process steps proceed by remote control in bunker-type

6.6 Disposal of Wuste,fromNuclear Power Stutions

rooms with meter-thick concrete walls (hot cells) to prevent exposure to the intensively radioactive radiation. The nitric acid solution from the dissolution of the fuel rod contents is filtered [poly(propene) fleece] or centrifuged, to remove suspended solids (zirconium- or molydenum- compounds and ruthenium and palladium alloys). The thus obtained fuel solution contains uranium, plutonium and the radioactive fission products. It is, after its composition is adjusted to the extraction conditions (3 molar in nitric acid and 240 to 300 g/L uranium) subjected to multi-cyclic extraction with tributylphosphate (dissolved in dodecane). Uranium and plutonium pass into the organic phase and are thereby separated from the fission products, which remain in the aqueous phase. In the case of large throughputs, pulse-type sieve plate columns or mixer-settlers are used as extraction apparatuses both for this process step and for the later extraction steps. In the next step uranium and plutonium are separated from one another by adding hydrazine, whereupon the uranium present as a uranium(1V) salt forms a complex with hydrazine which remains in the organic phase, but the plutonium present in the organic phase as a plutonium(1V) salt is reduced to plutonium(III), which is insoluble in the organic phase and therefore goes into the aqueous phase. A separation of the uranium from the plutonium is thereby achievable. Recent development work has shown that the plutonium(1V) can be electrolytically reduced to plutonium(II1) in situ, which results in more efficient separation. In the next process step the uranium is stripped with 0.0 1 M nitric acid into the aqueous phase. Separation of the fuel solution into three aqueous solutions containing uranium, plutonium and the fission products respectively has thereby been achieved in the first extraction cycle. In two further extractive uranium purification cycles, each consisting of extraction and stripping, the uranium solution is further purified to remove residual plutonium, neptunium and technetium. In two extractive plutonium purification cycles plutonium is separated from small quantities of coextracted fission products. The plutonium(II1) is oxidized with nitrogen(1V) oxide to plutonium(IV), which is extracted with tributylphosphate. This oxidation can also take place anodically.


removal of colids from the fuel solution,

1st extraction cycle: separation of U and Pu from fission products by extraction with tributylphosphate i n dodecane,

separation of U from Pu by: reduction of Pu(1V) to Pu(ll1) by U(W or electrolytically, - extraction of Pu(II1) in aqueous phase


stripping of U with dilute HNO, into the aqueous phase

2nd & 3rd urunium pur~ficarioncycles (extractionktripping): for removal of residual quantities of Pu, Np, Tc in uranium. Permitted Pu-content: 10 ppb. 0

2nd & 3rd plutonium purification cycles: for removal of co-extracted fission products. Pu(ll1) is oxidized with NO2 or electrolytically to Pu(lV).


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Contamination of U and Pu with fission products: 0.1 to 1 ppm U and Pu recovery efficiency: 98 to 99%

Uranyl nitrate and plutonyl nitrate solutions concentrated Tributylphosphate reused after removal of interfering impurities

With the help of this multicyclic extraction the contamination of uranium and plutonium with fission products is reduced to 0.1 to 1 ppm. The residual concentration of plutonium in uranium may not exceed 10 ppb, since the uranium must be able to be processed without protective measures. The recovery efficiency for uranium and plutonium is 98 to 99%. After the purification cycles, the dilute plutonium nitrate solution is concentrated to ca. 250 g/L and the uranium nitrate solution to ca. 450 g/L. Tributylphosphate is recycled, it being scrubbed, e.g. with sodium carbonate, to remove associated interfering impurities such as dibutylphosphate produced by radiation, before being reused. The Purex process is carried out at temperatures up to 13OoC, at, or slightly below, atmospheric pressure and uses aqueous dissolution and extraction processes, which are tried and tested in the chemical industry. In addition, it has proved possible to limit the places in the plant with high radiation activity to a few areas. Further Processing of Uranium and Plutonium Solutions Further processing of uranium directed to further uranium enrichment: for low *W-contents: conversion to UO3, for sufficient 235Ukontent: conversion to UFJ or UFh.

Further processing of plutonium: production of plutonium(1V) oxide via plutonium oxalate, conversion into U-Pu-mixed oxide fuel. Years of experience in the manufacture of mixed oxide fuel

The further processing of the uranyl nitrate solution, which in some plants is postpurified with silica gel, is directed towards further enrichment of the uranium. If this is not worthwhile due to a too low 23sU-content, the product is converted into uranium(V1) oxide, a storable compound. This can serve as a starting material for possible later utilization in fast breeder reactors. The uranium(V1) oxide is either produced indirectly by way of ammonium diuranate or by direct calcination. If further enrichment is foreseen, uranium(V1) fluoride or uranium(1V) fluoride is produced, the latter being fluorinated in the enrichment plant to uranium(V1) fluoride. Plutonium is usually precipitated in reprocessing plants as its oxalate, which is converted into plutonium(1V) oxide from which mixed oxide fuel elements for light-water reactors or fast breeder reactors can be manufactured. Considerable knowledge over the manufacture of mixed oxide fuel elements has been built up over the years in the USA, France, Great Britain, Japan, Belgium and the Federal Republic of Germany. Thus up to the end of 1993, just in the Federal Republic of Germany, 4.5t of fissile

6.6 Disposal of Waste,fromNuclear Power Stations

62 I

plutonium had been incorporated into more than 100,000 fuel rods, mainly for utilization in light-water reactors. The 26,000 fuel rods destined for use in the fast breeder reactor at Kalkar, have not been able to be used. Treatment of Radioactive Waste The solid, liquid and gaseous radioactive waste (see marginal notes) produced during the reprocessing of spent fuel elements has to be safely stored, to prevent entry into the biosphere. The waste includes the high activity aqueous refined product (HAW) from the first extraction cycle, the medium activity (MAW) and low activity (LAW) liquid saltcontaining waste, which mainly arises from scrubbing the extraction agent with sodium carbonate, and the active cladding and structural components of the fuel elements in which small quantities (ca. 0.1%) of fuel and tritium are present. In addition there is solid waste of all types, such as paper, plastic and glass, solvent residues, gaseous waste and tritium-containing effluent. The process for treatment of liquid radioactive waste is directed to concentrating the activity into the smallest possible volume. The high activity fission product solutions are thus concentrated to ca. 1/10 of their initial volume by distilling off the nitric acid. The resulting waste is a selfheating liquid, which can be stored in cooled stainless steel containers. For long term storage, this highly activity waste must be converted into a solid and leach-resistant form. Vitrification, i.e. embedding the radioactive fission products in a glass matrix, has proved to be particularly useful in this regard, particularly using borosilicate glass. Such glasses can embed up to 20 to 30% of their own weight of fission product oxides. These glasses are stable to irradiation and are only very slightly leached by water or aqueous salt solutions, which is important in the envisaged permanent storage of the radioactive fission products, and dissipates the decay-heat efficiently to the environment. The vitrification of highly active waste also enables above ground long term interim storage e.g. in air-cooled dry stores.

Typical quantities of waste per t of irradiated uranium fuels with a burn up of 30 000 MWd/t U: HAW MAW LAW - with T-content cladding solid waste gases

7 in? 8 m3 3 m3 0.7 m3 0.4.5 mR 3 m3 0.2 Nm3

Treatment of high activity solutions (HAW): concentration to ca. 1 / 1 0 of the initial volume by distilling off the nitric acid

vitrification by embedding in a glass matrix

Glasses are stable to irradiation, resistant to leaching and dissipate the decay-heat efficiently to the environment.


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Vitrification processes consist of: concentration, drying, calcination, production of the glass smelt, solidification of the glass.

Treatment of low activity water (LAW): distillative concentration, solidification of the radioactive concentrate.

Ca. 60 L glass produced pert spent fuel (30 000MWd/t U).

Treatment of medium activity waste (MAW): concentration of 8 in3 to 0.8 m3 per t spent fuel (30 000 MWd/t U), solidification by stirring into bitumen (gives 1.6 m3 per t fuel) or in concrete

A new scrubbing process for the extraction agent makes it possible to reduce strongly the quantity of MAW

Treatment of medium activity solid waste (cladding, structural component): embedding in cement barrels: I t spent fuel (30 000 MWd/t U) produces ca. 1 m3 of concrete. Treatment of mihcellaneous solid waste (low activity): volume reduction by burning, then embedded in cement: I t spent fuel (30 000 MWd/t U) produces ca. 0.65 m3 of concrete

A number of processes have been developed for the vitrification of high activity waste. These consist of concentrating the waste solutions, optional denitration, drying, calcination, smelting of the glass and solidification of the glass. Tn the so-called Pamela vitrification plant set up by a German company in Mol in Belgium, ground glass frit is added to the fission product concentrate and the mixture fed into a glass furnace. There calcination and thermal denitration take place and at ca. 1200°C a borosilicate smelt is produced. This can either be dropped onto a slowly rotating steel disc, whereupon glass beads are formed, with which steel cylinders are filled and whereover molten lead is poured, or be discharged through a valve in the bottom into an ingot mold, where glass blocks are formed. The low activity waste water is generally processed by distillation, whereupon a decontaminated distillate is obtained, which can be fed back into the process or discharged from the plant, and a residue in which radioactive nuclides are present in concentrated form. This residue can be bituminized or encased in concrete. The annual yield in vitrified high activity waste from the spent fuel elements of a 1000 M W nuclear power only amounts to 3 m3. Medium activity waste, from extraction agent scrubbing and the decontamination operations particularly important in connection with repairs and maintenance work, is first treated by evaporation to ca. 1/10 of its initial volume. The concentrate obtained can then be solidified by stirring into hot bitumen or embedded in concrete resulting in ca. 1.6 m3 bituminized mass/t fuel. A new development can avoid the production of contaminated salt in the scrubbing of the extraction agent, enabling the scrubbing solutions to be very highly concentrated. In this new process hydrazine carbonate is utilized as the scrubbing agent (instead of sodium carbonate) and the hydrazine is electrolytically oxidized to gaseous products. This strongly reduces the quantity of MAW. The medium activity residue from the dissolution of the nuclear fuel, consisting of cladding and structural components, is encased in concrete barrels. The waste from contaminated, no longer usable, process materials has a low activity. It is burnt to reduce its volume then encased in concrete barrels. Dissolver sludge from fuels from light-water reactors can, due to its high ruthenium content, only be embedded in

6.6 Disposal of Wastefrom Nuclear Power Stutions

concrete after long cooling times. A technical solution requiring shorter cooling times is being investigated. The gaseous radioactive products released by dissolution of nuclear fuel: 12910dine,radioactive aerosols, 85Krypton, I4CO2, Tritium; are handled in different ways. Radioactive aerosols are removed by scrubbing and with electrostatic and air filters. I2”odine was absorbed on silver nitrateimpregnated silica-based solid bed filters in the closed German reprocessing plant at Karlsruhe. The decontamination factors achievable in this process being very high (> 10”). *sKrypton is currently vented into the atmosphere from all reprocessing plants. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the possibility of isolating 8sKrypton in cold test plants by low temperature rectification was evaluated. 8sKrypton would be stored in gas cylinders after separation. The irreversible fixing of krypton in special zeolites and the implanting of krypton in metals could replace cylinder storage. 60% of the tritium formed in the nuclear reactor is bound by the zirconium of the cladding material and is disposed of with the cladding as medium activity waste. Of the remaining tritium very little is to be found i n the dissolver gasand its radiological environmental impact is negligibly small. The rest of the tritium is present in tritium-containing water in the distillate. It can be pressed into deep geological formations or enriched by isotope exchange.


Treatment of gaseous radioactive products: Aerosols: removed by scrubber\ and filters, ”Yllodine: in the FRG absorption on AgNOj impregnated silica.


XsKrypton: is currently vented in the atmosphere. Retention by low temperature rectification in development,


Tritium: 60% bound by Lirconium, is disposed of with \old waste. Gaseous tritium vented. Permanent Storage of Radioactive Waste The last stage in the disposal of nuclear power station waste is long-term secure permanent storage of the solidified high, medium and low activity waste. Annually SO00 m-’ of radioactive waste is produced in the Federal Republic of Germany, of which only half comes from nuclear power stations. In the Federal Republic of Germany permanent storage of all types of radioactive waste in deep geological formations is striven for. The exclusion of radioactive waste from the biosphere is guaranteed by a system of natural and technical barriers and therewith impermissible environmental pollution is also excluded in the long term. Since reunification the Federal Republic of Germany has at its disposal the permanent storage site for weakly radioactive at Morsleben, an existing permanent storage site in salt-rock, whose permit expires on 30.06.2000, under the

Permanent htoragc sites lor radioactive waste must he stable over geological periods. Under di\cushion in the FRG are: rock salt formations deep underground, granite, clay, anhydrite.


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

terms of the reunification treaty. Worldwide only Sweden practises underground permanent storage for medium and low activity waste. In the Federal Republic of Germany two further permanents storage sites have been at the planning stage for years. The furthest advanced in the planning process is the Konrad pit in Salzgitter, a former iron ore mine. This permanent storage site is foreseen for the reception of radioactive waste with negligible heat-output. A large proportion, quantitywise, of all radioactive waste from nuclear power station operations, from medicine, research and from industry falls into this category. The permanent storage site disposes over a permanent storage capacity of 650 000 m3. Since 1979, the suitability of a second project concerning the salt dome at Gorleben in the Lower Saxony administrative area Luchow-Dannenberg is being investigated as a permanent storage site for all types of solid and solidified radioactive waste and also for the reception of glass ingots with high activity waste from the reprocessing of spent fuel elements for their direct permanent storage. The results to date of above-ground and underground investigations have confirmed the hoped for suitability of this salt dome. The underground mining phase of the investigation of the salt dome is currently being carried out. Two borings have been sunk to ca. 840 m. Since 1996 the mine chambers necessary for the investigation have been completed. Due to the, for thermal reasons, necessary interim storage for several decades of the glass ingots and spent fuel elements, the electricity industry has taken the view that this permanent storage site would first be used after 2020.

References for Chapter 6: Nuclear Fuel Cycle General Information: Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1996. 5. Ed., Vol. A 17, 589 789, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Giirtner, E., Urun, Produktion urid Gewinnung, B r ~ n n s t ~ ~ ~ ~ r e i . t l nmci'glichrr u ~ u n d Beitrng zur Energieversorgimg, Jahrbuch fur Bergbau, Energie, MineralGI und Chemie, 1977/78. Jahrbuch der Atomwirtschaft 1996, Handelsblatt GmbH, Dusseldorf. ~

Specific Information: Economic IniportrinLr of Nuc~lerirEnergy: Leuschner, H. J., Kohle und Krrnenergie - Brrsi~rinrr sicherm Energirveuvorgu,zS. Braunkohle 306 308 ( 1 980). Fossilr Energietriigrr urid Kerucurrgie, Berichtsband der Fachtagung des Deutschen Atomformurns e.V.; Okt. 1981, Bonn, Deutscher Atoinform e.V., Bonn. Energie-Per.s/,rkti~irnI950 - 19x0 - 2000. Studie der Deutschen BP Akteingesellachaft ( I 98 I ). ~

6.6 Disposal

lntrrnutionul Nuclear Fuel Cvcle Evaluation (INFCE)

International Energy Agency, IAEA, Vol. I to 9, Vienna (1980). Taurit, R. and Wagner, M. Kunftige Entwick/ung von Brennst. - Warme - Kraft 32, Stm~n~srstrhirngspreisen, 554 - 556 ( I 980). Schmitt, D. and J u n k , H. Kostmvergleich der Stromerzeugung (mfder B a h von Kernenergie und Steinkohle, Zeitschr. Fur Energiewirtschaft, 77 - 86 ( 198 1 ). Harding, C, G. F. The Future qfNiiclear Energy in Western Industrialized Nations, ATW Atomwirtschaft Atomtech. 33, 543 - 546 ( 1 988). Spalthoff, F. J. Zur Rolle der Kernenergie f i r die Etiergievrr.rorgiing der Bundesrepiihlik, Atomwirtschaft 26, 140 - 143 (1981). Kohlmaier, G. H. Eitergi[,:iestrategienund COI-Risiko, Umschau Wiss. Tech. 81,648 - 651 (1981). Gerstler, R., Kaiser, H. and Wagner. H.-F. Bedurf an Kernhretmstojfen und Brennsto)~kreislaufdirnsten (Erhebungen und Befunde der International Nuclear Fuel Evaluation). Atomwirtschaft 25, 269 - 272 (1980). Schluter. A. Kernfusion und das Energieproblem, Naturwissenschaften 6Y, 226 - 235 (1982). Kernrraktoren: Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1991. 5 . Ed., Vol. A 17,617 - 714, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Eckey, H., Emniert, K. C. and Kilian, P. Kernphysikalische Schwerpunkte der Reuktortechnik, Physik in unserer Zeit 11, 18 - 21,47 - 59 (1980). Stutus ofAdvonced Technology and Design for Water Cooled Reacton: LWR, IAEA TECDOC-479. Strrtirs of Advunced Technology and Design for Water Cooled Reucmrx Heavy Water Reactors, IAEA TECDOC-510 (1989). Stati4.s q"Metal Cooled Fast Areeder Reactors, IAEA (Ed.), Tech. Pep. Ser. TAEA No. 246 (1985). Kugelcr, K., Schulten, R. Hochtefn/~eraturreukti~tecl~nik, Springer-Verlag, Berlin ( I 989). Reutler, H. and Lohnert, G. H. Advantages of Going Modular in HTR's, Nucl. Eng. Des 78, 129 (1984). Michaelis, H. and Mayer, H. Schnelle Brutreaktoren, Handbuch der Kernenergie, 105 - I 17, Econ-Verlag, Diisseldorf (1986).

Supply; Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1991. 5. Ed., Vol. A 17,732 749, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim. Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1996. 4. Ed., Vol. 17, 376 - 391, John Wiley & Sons, New York. Atomwirt,sc,haff,Atomtechnik 2(2), 79 - 97 ( 1996). ~


Wusre,from Nuclear Power Station3


Gmelin, Handbuch der anorg. Chemie. 1979. 8. Autl. U m n , Erganzungsband A I , Uran/agervtuttcn, Springer-Verlag, Berlin. Gmelin, Handbuch der anorg. Chemie. 1981. 8. Aufl. Urun, Erganzungaband A 3, Technologic, Verwendung, Springer-Verlag, Berlin. Braat!, U. and Dibbert, H. J . K(,; Geriistetfur mehr Kernenrrgie. Jahrbuch der Atomwirtschaft 13, A 45 - A 58 (1982). Urwiiinn reso~rce.~, Production and Demand. OECD/IAEA, Paris (1988). Mehner, A. W. et al. Spherical FM(,/Elemcutsfor Advanced HTR Manufacture und Qucil$ic.ation by lrradiatiori Testirzg, J. Nucl. Mater. 171, 9 - 18 (1990). Die Uranivrsorgung dcr Welt.Atomwirtschaft 25, 583 585 (1980). Bacher, W. and Jacob, E. Uranhexufluorid - Chrrnir und Teclinologie eines Grundstotfi dcs nuklearen Chem. Z. 106, I I7 - I36 ( 1982). Rrc.nn.\rpff-Krei.s/~fi,~:s, Mohrhauer, H.. Krey, M. and Severin, D. Uraiwnrc.ic~herungmil Zentr;fugm, Atomwi i-tschaft 26, 186- 191 (1981). Ehrfeld, W. and Ehrfeld, U. Ura~ti.sorc-/,mtrennung, Chem. Z. 101,53 - 63 (1977). ~

Nitcletrr Waste Di.\po.sal: Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 1991. 5. Ed., Vol. A 17,749 - 790, VCH Verlagsgcsellschaft. Weinheim. Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1996. 4. Ed., Vol. 17, 409 - 428. John Wiley & Sons, New York. Baumgartner, F. Chemie cler nuk/eciren Entsorgrtng, Verlag K. Theimig, Munchen (1978). Schuller. W. Entsorgung tier Kerrrkrcrfiwrrke - eiwe iiko/ogi.sche Notwendigkeit, Umschau 77, 4 I - 49 (1977). Koch, G. Wirdercii!furbrituitg von Krmbrrnft.stof~rfI. Kerntechnik 20, 363 - 369 (1978). Levi, H. W. Die Enrsorgung von K~r17krufi~.rrken, Phys. 81. 36, 299 - 303 (1980). Kroebel, R. Die Enrsorgung i'on KrnikmfiM.erken. Nachr. Chem. Tech. Lab. 30, 372 - 377 (1982). Entsorgung von Kernkrc!ftwerkert. Tagungsbericht vom November 1980, Essen, Verlag TUV Rheinland GmbH. Kiiln ( 198 I ). K. D. Dirckte Endlugrrung odrr der~iufirrl,eitung?, Umschau Wiss. Tech. 81. 290 296 (1981). Benedict. M., Pigford, T., Levi, H. Firel\,fi)r Nuclear Reactors, in: Nuclear Chemical Engineering, Chap. 3, 91 pp.. McGraw Hill, New York (1981). Kleykamp, H. Der chemische Ziisttind von AUPuC- ltnd OKOM-Misc.l?oxidin ver,schirdenen Starlieti Oer Brenn.\tc~ffkrei.~lauf:s, Kernfirschungszentrum, Karlsruhe Ber. KtK-4430 ( I 988). Delange, M. LWR Spcnt Firel Repro(,r\,sing ( i f lnr Hugir; Ten Yeurs On, Proc. Int. Conf. Nucl. Fuel Reprocess.


6 Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Waste Management, Vol. I , 228, Soc. Franpise NuclCaire, Paris (1987). Mandel, H. Die mergiepolitische Bedeutung der Entsorgung, At. U. Strom. 23, 7 - 10 (1977). Schmidt-Kuster, W.-J. Dus Ent.torgungskonzept drr Bundesregierung, Atomwirtschaft 25, 294 - 299 (1980). Diefenbacher, W. and Jocher, W. G. Wi~deruujurbeitung und thermische Riickfuhrung, Atomwirtschaft 25, 37 1 - 375 (1980).

Miiller-Christiansen, K. and Willessen, M. Plutonium. Gesellschaft fur Reaktorsicherheit mbH, Reihe Stellungnahmen zu Kernenergiefragen (GRS-S-27), Kiiln (1979). Kroebel, R. and Krause, H. Endlug~rungvon rudiocikfivenAhfiillen, Kerntechnik 20, 37 I - 377 (1978). Koelzer, W. Auswirkungen rudiocrktivprEniis.sionen von Kernkraftbt>erkmund Wiederuufurhritung.srmla,~muuj die Umgrhirng, Reihe “Kernthemen”, Deutsches Atomform e.V., Bonn (1979).

Industrial inorganic Chemistry Karl Heinz Bbchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto & Peter Woditsch copyright0 WlLEY VCH Verldg GmbH, 2MlO

Company Abbreviations Index Abbreviation

Official Name and Headquarters

Air Industries

Air Industries, Allentown, USA

American Chrome

American Chrome & Chemicals Inc., Corpus Christi, USA; Daughter of Harrison\ & Crossfield PLC, London, UK.

Asahi Chemical

Asahi Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., Tokio, Japan.

Asahi Glass

Asahi Glass Co. Ltd.. Tokio, Japan.


BASF AG, Ludwigshafen, Federal Republic of Germany.


Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Federal Republic of Germany.

Bayer Corp.

Bayer Corp., Pittsburgh, USA; Daughter of Bayer AG, Leverkuaen, Federal Republic of Germany

Breyer Heurty

Heurty SA, Paris, France.

British Chrome & Chemicals

British Chrome & Chemicals. Eagles Cliff, UK.

Business Communications C o

Business Communications Co., Stamford, USA


Buss Ltd., Pratteln, Switzerland.


Charbonnage de France. Paris, France.

Central Prayon

Central Prayon




Chemetals Inc., Baltimore, USA.


CIBA-Geigy AG, Basel, Switzerland.

Davy McKee

Davy McKee AG, Frankt'udM., Federal Republic of Germany.

Dead Sea Bromine

Dead Sea Bromine, Israel.


Dorr Co. Inc., Stamford, USA.

Dorr-Oli vier

Dorr-Olivier Inc., Milford, USA.

Dow Chemical

Dow Chemical Corp., Midland, USA.


NV DSM, Nederlands Staatsmijnen, Heerlen, The Netherlands.


E. I. Dupont de Nemours and Comp. Inc., Wilmington, USA.


Elf-Atochem, Paris, France.


Erco Industries Ltd., Islington, Canada.


Company Abbreviations Index

Company Abbreviations Index (cont.) Abbreviation

Official Name and Headquarters

Ethyl Corp.

Ethyl Corp., Richmond, USA


Fisons Ltd., Felixstowe, UK

Gesellschaft f. Elektrometal lurgie

GfE, Gesellschaft fur Elektrometallurgie mbH, Dusseldorf, Federal Republic of Germany; Daughter of Metturg Inc., New York, USA.

Great Lake Chemicals

Great Lake Chemicals, West Lafayette, USA.


Hoechst AG, FrankfurVM., Federal Republic of Germany


Hooker Electrochemical Co.. New York, USA.


Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd.. London, UK.


Inventa AG fur Forschung und Patentverwertung, Zurich, Switierland.,


Kellog-Lopker Int. Corp., Houston, USA; Daughter of Pullniann Inc., Chicago, USA


Gebr. Knauf, Westdeutsche Gipswerke Iphoven, Federal Republic of Germany


Lurgi Gesellschaften, Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany: Daughter of Metallgeschallschaft AG, Frankfurt/M., Federal Republic of Germany.

3M C o p .

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Comp., St. Paul, USA.


Merck AG, Darmhtadt, Federal Republic of Germany.


Mitsubishi Gas Chem. Ltd., Tokio, Japan.

Mitsui Mining

Mitsui Mining, Tokio, Japan.


Mitsui Toatsu Chemicals Inc., Yokohama, Japan.


Monsanto C o p . , St. Louis, USA.


Montedison SPA, Milan, Italy.

Nippon Carbon

Nippon Carbon Co. Ltd., Tokio, Japan.

Nippon Chemical

Nippon Chemical Ind., Tokio, Japan

Nippon Denko

Nippon Denko K. K., Tokio, Japan.


Nissan Chemical Ind. Ltd., Tokio. Japan.

Occidental Chemicals

Occidental Chemicals, Dallas, USA.


Olin-Mathieson Chem. Corp., New York, USA


Otsuka Kagaku Yakuhin K.K., Osaka, Japan


Oxychem, Dallas, USA.


Produits Chimiques, Ugine Kuhlmann, Paris, France; Daughter of Pechiney Ugine Kuhlmann (up to 1982).


Pennwalt Corp.. Buffalo, USA.


Pilkington Brothers, St. Helens, UK.

Cornpatiy Abbreviations Index


Company Abbreviations Index (cont.) Abbreviation

Official Name and Headquarters

PPG Pray o n

SociCtC de Prayon SA. Forst-Trooz, Belgium.


Societe des Usines Chimiques Rh6ne-Poulenc, Paris. France.

Sap h i kon

Saphikon Inc., Hampshire. USA.


Sedema, Daughter of Dadachem SA. Tertre, Belgium.


Shieldalloy Corp., Newfield. USA.


Royal Dutch Shell Group, The Hague. The Netherlands.


Sicmens AG, Berlin-Munchen. Federal Republic of Germany.


Solvay & Cie. Brussels, Belgium.


Stamicarhon BV, Daughter of Nederlandae Staahmijnen, Heerlen, The Netherlands.

St. Gohain

Compagnie dea Saint Gohain SA. Paris, France.


Stoppani, Milan, Italy.


Texaco Inc., New York, USA.

Textron Inc.

Textron Inc., Providence. USA.


Fabriques der Produits Chimiques de Thann et de Mulhouse, Thann, France.

Tokai Carbon

Tokai Carbon, Tokio, Japan.

UBE Industries

UBE Industries


Union Carbide Corp., New York, USA.


Krupp Uhde GmbH, Dortmund, Federal Republic of Germany.


Unie van Kunstmestfabrieken BV. Utrecht. The Netherlands.


Vereinigte Aluminiuinwerke, Berlin-Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany.

Industrial inorganic Chemistry Karl Heinz Bbchel Hans-Heinrich Moretto & Peter Woditsch copyright0 WlLEY VCH Verldg GmbH, 2MlO



ammonium nitrate 52, 197 ff. importance 197 ff. manufacture 200 ff. ammonium perchlorate applications 174 - economic importance 166 ff - manufacture 172 ammonium peroxodisulfate - applications 28 - economic importance 21 - production 26 ammonium phosphate - economic importance 79 ff ammonium phosphates 76,79, I92 ff. - applications 80 ff. - economic importance I89 - liquid fertilizer manufacture 193 ff. manufacture 79, I92 ff. solid fertilizer manufacture 192 ff. ammonium sulfate - economic importance 197 - manufacture 199 ff. ammonium thiosulfate 12 1 ff. - applications 122 manufacture 122 ammonium uranyl(V1) carbonate 6 12 anhydrite, natural 415 ff. anhydrite, synthetic 135, 415 ff. Anhydrite I, 11,111 4 17 ff. apatite 65 ff., 190 ff. asbestos cement 41 1 asbestos fibers 356 ff. - applications 361 ff. - deposits 333 - economic importance 356 ff. - extraction 3.59 ff. - general information 36 1 - in asbestos textiles and filter materials 364 - in composite materials 362 ff. - properties and structure 357 ff. -toxic properties 354 ff. -types and compositions 357 ff. AUC process 6 12 - economic -





barium - economic

importance 242 ff. natural deposits 242 barium carbonate 243 ff., 5 13 - applications 244 ff. - economic importance 243 -

manufacture 243 ff. barium sulfate 245, 544 barium sulfate filler 544 ff. barium sulfide 245 barium titanate 464 f basic chromium sulfates 265 ff. beryllium - applications 23 1 - economic importance 23 I - manufacture 23 1 - oxide 23 1,445, 462) bismuth oxychloride 58 1 bleaching powder 168 bonding agents 396 bone china 457 boron carbide products 480 boron fibers 386 ff. - applications 387 ff. - manufacture 387 - properties 386 boron nitride products 48 I boron trifluoride 142 ff. brackish water 10 bromates, alkali I79 ff. bromides 178 ff. bromine I75 ff. - applications I79 ff. economic importance 175 ff, - natural deposits 175 bromine manufacture 176 ff. - from bromide-enriched starting materials 177 - from seawater 177 ff. -


cadmium pigments 573 f cadmium yellow pigments 574 caesium 2 13 calcium 237 ff. - inanufacture 238 - natural deposits 237 calcium carbide 240 ff. - applications 241 - economic importance 240 - manufacture 24 I calcium carbonate 238 ff. - applications 238 ff. - economic importance 238 - mining and manufacture 238 calcium carbonate filler 538 calcium chloride 240 - applications 240


- economic

importance 240 240 calcium cyanamide 24 I calcium fluoride 127 ff. calcium hydrogen sulfite 12 1 calcium hydroxide 239 - applications 6, 239 - economic importance 239 - manufacture 239 calcium hypochlorite - applications I74 - economic importance 166 - manufacture 167 calcium oxide 239, 398 ff. - applications 239, 402 ff. - economic importance 239 - manufacture 239, 398 ff. calcium phosphates - applications 77 economic importance 77 manufacture 80 calcium sulfate 4 15 ff. - economic importance 4 I5 ff. - manufacture 68 ff., 135, 4 IS ff. modifications 416 ff. formation 417 ff. - properties 4 17 carbon, synthetic 505 ff carbon black 5 I7 f carbon black manufacture 5 18 f carbon disulfide 126 carbon felt 38 1 carbon fibers 377 ff. - applications 380 ff. - economic importance 377 ff. - manufacture 380 ff. - properties 378 ff. carbon manufacture 528 f carbon wool 38 1 cement compositions 404 economic importance 403 ff. ceramic fibers 388 ff. - non oxide fibers 39 1 ff. - oxide fibers 389 ff. - whiskers 394 ff. ceramics 443 ff ceramic stains 55 1, 574 CERPHOS process 423 chloralkali electrolysis 147 ff. - manufacture







- economic importance 146 ff. - diaphragm process I54 ff. - evaluation of the processes I58 ff, - membrane process I57 ff. - mercury process 152 ff. - starting materials 148 ff. chlorinated trisodium phosphate I69 chlorine 149 ff. - applications 3 ff., 8, 159 ff., 285 - economic importance 146 ff. - manufacture 15 I ff., 164 ff.

chlorine dioxide - applications I74 - economic importance 166 - manufacture I73 ff.

(ch1oro)methylphenysilanes297 ff. (ch1oro)methylsilanes 296 ff. (ch1oro)phenylsilanes 297 ff. chlorosulfonic acid I20 chromate pigments 543 ff. chrome-tanning agents 265 ff. chromic acid see chromium (V1)oxide chromite 257 ff. chromium 266 ff. - economic importance 266 - manufacture - - chemical reduction 267 - - electrochemical reduction 267 ff. chromium boride 493 f chromium carbide 489 chromium compounds 255 ff. - economic importance 255 ff. - manufacture 258 ff. - raw material 257 ff. chromium manufacture 266 chromium (111)oxide 264 ff. - applications 266 ff. chromium(II1) oxide pigments 567 chromium(V1) oxide 262 ff. - applications 266 - manufacture 262 ff. - - by electrolysis 263 ff. - - with sulfuric acid 262 ff. clay ceramics see .silicare cerumics coarse ceramic products 424 ff. - expanded products 425 ff. coloring carbon blacks 5 17 COMURHEX process 607 concrete 397 - construction materials 396 ff.




- cement

403 ff, ceramic products 424 ff. - lime 397 ff. - gypsum 41 5 ff. corrosion protection pigments 578 cristobalite 509, 5 14 cryolite see sodium uhninLln? hexafluor-ide 140 ff. -

dental ceramics 457 dialkyl phosphites 98 diamond 496 ff (dichloro)dimethylsilane 298 ff. -hydrolysis 309 ff. - methanolysis 3 1 1 ff. disulfur dichloride I I8 dolomite bricks 472 f electro-ceramics 464 electrochemical fluorination of organic compounds 144 ff. enamel 432 ff. - applications 440 - application on sheet steel 436, 439 ff. - - dry processes 440 ff. - - wet processes 439 ff. - classification 433 - - coloring and opacifying systems 435 ff. - - layer arrangement 433 ff. - - manufacture 437 ff. - enameling procedure 436 - firing 441 general information 432 EXER process 608 expandable clays 403 expanded products 425 ff. expanded products (foam glass) - from glasses 430 expanded products from clays and shales 425 ff. - gas-forming reaction 428 - manufacture 429 ff. ~

feldspar 445 ferrites 465 ferrochrome 267 ferrocyanate pigments 575 f. ferrophosphorus 84 fibers, inorganic 35 1 ff. fillers 535 ff.

ff. economic importance 536 -general information 535 ff. - properties 545 ff. fillers, natural 536 ff. - beneficiation 537 ff. - silicas and silicon dioxide 536 ff. - silicates 536 ff. fillers, synthetic 439 - pyrogenic silicas 53Y - wet processes 540 ff. - posttreatment 541 fine earthenware 455 f fluorapatite I30 fluorination, electrochemical 144 ff, fluorine I30 ff. - applications I32 - economic importance 132 fluorine manufacture 130 ff. fluorosulfonic acid I20 fluorspar 127 ff. - applications 129 - extraction 128 foamed carbon 5 15 forsterite bricks 472 frit manufacture 437 if. furnace acid 74 ff. - applications 545


glass 327 ff. - applications 338 ff.. 542 - compositions 326 ff. - economic importance 325 - manufacture 329 ff. - - chemical decoloration 330 ff. - - container glass 335 ff. - - flat glass 335 - - float glass 335 - - melting furnaces 332 ff. - - melting process 33 1 ff. - - molding 334 ff. - - raw materials 329 ff. - - tank furnaces 3 13 ff. - properties 336 ff. - structure 325 ff. glass-ceramics 328 ff. glass fiber .see textile gla.c..s,fiher,s glass fillers 542 glass wool 372 ff. glassy carbon 5 15 graphite 500 ff


graphite, natural 500 graphite, synthetic 505 graphite foils and membranes 5 I6 graphite manufacture 506 ff graphitization of synthetic carbon 509 Guillini process 423 gypsum 4 15 ff. - economic importance 4 15 ff - byproduct 420 ff. - natural 4 I8 ff. - - from flue gas desulfurization 421 - - from organic acid manufacture 420 - - from phosphoric acid production 42 1 ff. hafnium carbide 488 hafnium nitride 492 heavy water 597 ff. heraklith 4 12 hexafluorosilicates I42 ff. hexafluorosilicic acid 134 ff., 142 HM carbon fibers -applications 378 ff. - general information 375 ff. - manuhcture 378 ff. HT carbon fibers - applications 378 ff. - general information 375 ff. - manufacture 378 ff. hydrazine 43 ff. -applications 48 ff. - economic importance 43 hydrazine manufacture 44 ff. - Bayer process 46 ff. - H,O, process 47 ff. - Raschig process 44 ff. - urea process a45 hydrochloric acid 162 ff. - economic importance 163 - electrolysis I63 ff. hydrogen I4 ff. - applications 18 ff. - as by product 18 ff. - - by chloralkali electrolysis 152 ff. - economic importance 14 ff. - manufacture 15 ff. - - catalytic decomposition of ammonia 18 ff. - - coal gasification I6 ff. - - electrolysis of water I6 ff. - - petrochemical processes 15 ff. - - thermal decomposition of water 17 ff.

- storage as hydrides 1 Y ff. - transport 19 ff. hydrogen bromide I78 ff. - applications I80 hydrogen chloride I62 ff. - applications 120, 163 ff., 285 - economic importance 16.7 - manufacture 162 hydrogen fluoride 132 ff. - applications 136 ff. - economic importance 132, I37 hydrogen fluoride manufacture 132 ff. - Bayer process I34 ff. - Buss process 135 - Du Pont process 135 hydrogen iodide 183 hydrogen peroxide 20 ff., 5 0 - applications 27 - economic importance 20 - production 2 I ff. - - anthraquinone process 23 ff. - - electrochemical process 22 f f . - - isopropanol oxidation process 22 hydrogen sulfide 1 2Y hydroxylamine SO ff. - applications 50 - economic importance 50 hydroxylamine manufacture 50 ff. - nitrate reduction process 52 ff. - nitric oxide reduction process 5 I ff. - Raschig process 5 I hypophosphites 89

IDR process 6 12 inorganic fibers 35 1 ff. - economic importance 352 - general information 3.5 1 - insulalion niatei-ials 372 ff. -properties 352 ff. - physiological aspects 354 ff. - reinforcement sector 369 ff. inorganic peroxo compounds 20 ff. interference pigments 58 I iodates, alkali I84 iodides applications 184 R. iodine - applications I84 ff. -


economic importance I8 I natural deposits 18 I ff.




iodine manufacture - from brines 182 from niter residual solutions 183 iron(I1)sulfate 4 iron oxide pigments 56 1 iron oxide pigments, synthetic 563 -

235 importance 235 - manufacture 235 magnesium sulfate 237 - applications 237 - economic importance 237 manufacture 237 magnetic pigments 582 ff magneto-ceramics 464 manganese - electrochemical manufacture 292 ff. - importance and applications 292 ff. manganese compounds economic importance 282 ff. - manufacture 284 ff. raw materials 283 ff. manganese(I1) carbonate - applications 292 - manufacture 286 manganese chloride 285 manganese nitrate 288 manganese(I1) oxide - applications 292 - manufacture 284 manganese(I1) sulfate - applications 292 - economic importance 282 manufacture 285 managanese(I1,III) oxide applications 292 -manufacture 286 manganese(II1) oxide - applications 292 - manufacture 286 manganese(1V) oxide applications 292 - economic importance 282 - manufacture 286 ff. - - activation of manganese(1V) oxide minerals 287 ff. - - electrolytic manganese(1V) oxide (EMD) 289 - - oxidation of manganese(I1) carbonate 288 ff. - - thermal decomposition of manganese nitrate 288 melt phosphates 190 Merck process 172 metal borides 493 metal fibers 384 ff. -boron fibers 386 ff. steel fibers 384 ff. - applications - economic


kaolin 445 f. Knauf process 422 lead glass 328 LECA process 425 light bricks 424 lime 397 ff. - applications 402 ff. importance 397 ff. materials 398 ff. lime hydrate see calcium hydroxide lithium 213 ff. - applications 2 14 - economic importance 214 occurrence 2 I3 lithium bromide 180 lithium carbonate 2 14 ff. lithium chloride 215 ff lithium hydride 215 lithium hydroxide 215 lithium hypochlorite 169 lithopone pigments 559 luminescent pigments 58 1 lustrous pigments 580 - economic - raw


magnesia bricks 469 magnesia cement 41 2 magnesium - applications 233 - economic importance 232 - manufacture 232 ff. natural deposits 23 1 magnesium carbonate 234 ff., 543 applications 234, 538 - economic importance 234 - manufacture 234 -natural deposits 234 magnesium chloride 236 - applications 236 - economic importance 236 - manufacture 236 magnesium nitrate 62 magnesium oxide 235,463 -









tungsten fibers 382 ff. metallic hard materials 484 ff metallic pigments 580 metal nitrides 492 f metal silicides 494 mineral fibers 35 1 ff. mineral fiber insulating materials 372 ff. - applications 377 - economic importance 372 ff. - fiber manufacture 373 - general information 372 ff - manufacture 373 ff. - - blowing process 374 - - centrifugal process 375 ff. - - melt manufacture 375 - - processing of fibers into insulating materials 376 - - raw matrials 374 - - two-step centrifugal jet process 376 mixed metal oxide pigments 57 1 f molybdate pigments 570 f molybdenum disilicide 494

nitrophosphates manufacture I95 ff.


nacreous pigments 58 1 niobium carbide 488 niobium nitride 492 nitric acid, highly concentrated 59 ff. - direct processes 60 ff. - indirect extractive distillation processes 62 ff. nitric acid 5 3 ff. - applications 64 ff., 200 ff. - economic importance 53 nitric acid manufacture 53 ff. - catalysts 55, 57 -highly concentrated nitric acid 59 ff - - Conia-process 6 1 - - direct process 60 ff. - - magnesium nitrate process 62 - - Sabar process 6 I - - sulfuric acid process 62 - - oxidation of ammonia 54 ff. - - oxidation of nitric oxide 5 5 ff. nitric oxides, conversion to nitric acid 56 - plant types 57 ff. tail gases 62 nitric oxide 55 ff. nitrogen-containingfertilizers 196 ff economic importance 196 ff. nitrophosphates - economic importance 189 ~




- carbonitric process 195 - sulfonitric process 195 ff. nonoxide ceramics 479 ff

nuclear energy importance 587 ff. nuclear fuel - manufacture 599 ff. - - fuel elements 6 14 ff. - - uranium metal 6 13 - - uranium-plutonium mixed oxides 613 ff. - manufacture from uranium ore concentrates 600 ff. nuclear fuel cycle 587 ff. - general information 591 ff. nuclear fuel reprocessing 6 I7 ff. - PUREX process 6 I8 separation of uranium and plutonium 619 - working up of uranium and plutonium 620 ff. nuclear reactor types 594 ff. Candu 594 - fast breeder reactors 598 ff. - general information 594 - graphite-moderated reactors 595 ff. - - advanced gas-cooled reactors (ACR) 595 ff. - - gas-cooled reactors 5953 ff. - - high temperature reactor (HTR) 596 - - light water-cooled reactors 597 - heavy water reactors 597 ff. - light water reactors 594 ff. - - boiling water reactors 594 ff. - - pressurized water reactors 595 - Magnox 595 ff. nuclear waste disposal 6 I5 ff. - concrete encasement 622 ff. - conditioning of radioactive waste 62 I - direct permanent storage of irradiated fuel elements 624 - gaseous radioactive products 623 - general information 6 I5 ff. - interim storage of irradiated fuel elements 61 7 - liquid radioactive waste treatment 62 I ff. - permanent storage 623 ff. reprocessing of spent fuel elements 6 I7 ff. vitrification 621 ff. - economic





optical glass 328, 337 oxide ceramics 458 oxide pigments 548



pentasodium triphosphate 75 perchloric acid economic importance 2 66 from Merck process 172 ff. perlite 5 I0 phosphates (non fertilizers) - ammonium phosphates 79 ff. - calcium phosphates 80 - sodium phosphates 75 ff. - tetrapotassium diphosphate 80 phosphinic acid 89 phosphonic acids 99 ff. - applications 100 ff. phosphoric acid 67 ff. - applications 67 ff. - economic importance 67 ff. - from white phosphorus 74 ff. phosphoric acid manufacture 68 ff. - hemihydrate processes 69, 72 - impurity removal 73 ff. wet-process acid by dihydrate process 69 ff. phosphoric acid triesters - applications 93 ff. - economic importance 93 ff. - manufacture 9 1 ff. phosphorous acid 89 phosphorous acid esters - applications 98 ff. - dialkylphosphites 98 - trialkylphosphites 97 - triarylphosphites 97 phosphoric acid esters 91 ff. - diarylalkylphosphates 9 1 ff. - dithiophosphoric ester acids 94 ff. - - applications 95 - - economic importance 95 - dithiophosphoric acid diesters 95 ff. - phosphoric ester acids 94 - - applications 9 4 - - economic importance 94 - - manufacture 94 thiophosphoric acid triesters 96 - - appljcatjons 96 ff. - trialkylphosphates 92 - - applications 93 ff. - - economic importance 93 ff. - - manufacture 92 triarylphosphates 91 ff. - - applications 93 ff. - - economic importance 93 ff. -





- -

manufacture 9 1

- tris(chloroalky1)phosphate

92 ff. applications 93 - - economic importance 93 - - manufacture 92 ff. phosphorus 80 ff. - applications 8 1 - economic importance 80 ff. - manufacture 82 ff. - phosphorus manufacture - - red phosphorus 84 - - white phosphorus 82 ff. raw materials 65 ff. phosphorus compounds 65 ff. - inorganic 65 ff. - organic 9 1 ff. - raw materials 65 ff. phosphorus-containing fertilizers I87 ff - economic importance 187 ff. - manufacture 190 ff. phosphorus oxychloride 87 phosphorus pentachloride 87 ff. phosphorus pentasulfide 86 phosphorus pentoxide 85 phosphorus raw materials manufacture 65 ff. phosphorus sulfochloride 88 phosphorus trichloride 86 ff. plasters 4 17 ff. plaster setting processes 423 ff. plutonium 598,615 plutonium(1V) oxide 6 13,6 I9 poly(organosiloxanes), branched 3 I4 ff. poly(organosiloxanes), linear 307 ff. polyphosphates I I , 78 porcelain 456 f Portland cement 405 ff. - applications 409 - clinker compositions 405 - manufacture 405 t'f. - - dry processes 407 ff. - - half-dry process 407 ff. - - half-wet process 407 ff. - - wet process 407 ff. - raw materials 405 Portland cement solidification processes 4 12 ff. posttreatment of silicas 5 13 potassium 227 fl. - general information 227 potassium bromide 180 - -



potassium carbonate 229 ff. manufacture 228 ff. potassium chlorate applications 174 - economic importance 166 - manufacture 170 potassium chloride 208 ff. -extraction 210 ff. potassium-containing fertilizers 205 ff. - economic importance 206 ff. - manufacture 208 ff. - raw materials 205 ff. potassium dichromate - applications 266 manufacture 262 potassium hydrogen fluoride 14 I potassium hydroxide 230 - applications 228 - economic importance 230 - manufacture 228 potassium nitrate 210 ff. potassium perchlorate - manufacture 172 potassium permanganate - applications 292 - economic importance 285 potassium peroxodisulfate - applications 28 economic importance 21 production 26 potassium permanganate manufacture 289 ff. - single-step liquid phase process 291 - two-step roasting processes 290 potassium salts - extraction 2 10 ff. occurrence 205 ff. potassium silicates - applications 340 - economic importance 338 - general information 338 - manufacture 337 potassium sulfate 2 I0 pozzolan cements 4 I0 PUREX process 617 ff. pyrogenic silicas 539 ff. pyrolytic carbon 513 pyrolytic graphite 5 13 - applications

quartz glass 327 quicklime T P P r a l c I


or;& ~






quartz 445

rapidly fired porcelain 4.57 red phosphorus 80 ff., 85 refractory ceramics 469 reinforcing carbon fibers .see HT U I I H~ M carbon ,fiher.s reverse osmosis see wuter drsulinution rock wool 372 ff. roofing materials 397, 424 ff. rubidium 2 13 Saffil fiber 390 sand-line bricks 402 seawater 10 silanes manufacture 296 ff. silicon carbide 475 ff silicon carbide fibers 388 ff. - general information 388 ff. - manufacture 39 1 ff. silicon carbide products 411 silicone products, industrial - silicone copolymers 323 ff. - silicone greases 3 17 - silicone rubbers 3 17 ff. - - hot vulcanizing 320 ff. - - properties 322 - - room temperature vulcanizing 3 17 ff. - silicone oils 307 ff. - silicone oil emulsions 3 16 ff. silicon compounds, organic 295 ff. - acyloxysilanes 300 - aminosilanes 298 - aminoxysilanes 300 ff. - nomenclature 295 organoalkoxysilanes 299 - organofunctional silanes 302 ff - - alkenylsilanes 302 ff. - - halo-organosilanes 303 - - organoaminosilanes 303 ff. - - organomercaptosilanes 304 - organohalosilanes 296 ff. - organohydrogensilanes 30 1 ff. - oximosilanes 300 - silazames 30 I - siliconfunctional organosilanes 298 ff. silicones 305 ff. - economic importance 306 ff. -





manufacture 307 ff. - cycliration 3 I0 - - hydrolysis 307 ff. - - methanolysis 309 ff. - - polycondensation 3 12 ff. - - polymerization 3 10 ff. - - polysiloxanes, branched 3 14 ff. - - polysiloxanes, linear 307 ff. - - starting materials (silanes) 307 - nomenclature 305 ff. - properties 305 ff. - structure 305 ff. silicon nitride products 478 ff sinter phosphates 189 slag cement 409 ff. slag fibers 372 ff. slaked lime scc culcium hydrmide sodium 2 17 ff. - applications 217 ff., 598 - economic importance 2 17 - general information 216 ff. - manufacture 2 I7 sodium aluminate 254 ff. sodium aluminum hexafluoride 136, 140 ff. sodium horates 225 ff-. - applications 226 ff. - extraction 226 natural deposits and economic importance 225 ff. sodium bromate 179 ff. sodium bromide 178 ff. sodium carbonate 2 1 8 ff. - applications 221 ff. - economic importance 2 I 9 - general information 2 18 - manufacture of synthetic 220 ff. production from natural deposits 219 ff.

- applications 266 - manufacture 258 ff.


sodium dichromate dihydrate manufacture - carbon dioxide process 26 I - sulfuric acid process 260 ff. sodium disulfite I2 I sodium dithionite I22 ff. - applications I23 - production I22 ff. sodium fluoride I4 1

sodium hydrogen carhonate 222 ff. - applications 222 ff. - economic importance 222 - manufacture 222 natural deposits 222 sodium hydrogen sulfate 225 sodium hydrogen sulfide 125 sodium hydrogen sulfite 12 1 sodium hydroxide 45, I46 ff., 2 13 - applications 12 I , 160 ff.. 250, 254 economic importance 146 ff. manufacture I5 I ff. sodium hydroxymethanesulfinate I22 ff. applications I24 - manufacture I23 ff. sodium hypochlorite I66 ff, - applications 174 - economic importance I66 - manufacture I67 ff. sodium hypophosphite 89 ff. sodium metasilicate 339 sodium perborate - applications 27 ff. - economic importance 20 - production 24 ff. sodium percarbonate sre sodium c,urhot,ute ~






sodium carbonate perhydrate - applications 27 R. - economic importance 20 - production 25 ff. sodium chlorate I70 applications I74 economic importance 166 manufacture 170 ff. sodium chloride 150 ff., 224 ff. - applications 173 ff. - economic importance 148 ff sodium chlorite 166, I70 sodium dichromate ~




sodium perchlorate manufacture 172 sodium peroxide applications 28 - economic importance 2 I - production 26 ff. sodium peroxodisulfate - applications 28 economic importance 2 I production 26 ff. sodium phosphates 75 ff. - applications 75 ff. - economic importance 75 ff ~





- manufacture 77 sodium silicates - applications 340 - economic importance 338 - general information 338 - manufacture 337 sodium sulfate 223 ff. - applications 224 - economic importance 223 - from natural deposits 223 ff. - general information 223 - manufacture 223 ff. sodium sulfide 124 ff. sodium sulfite 12 I sodium tetrahydroborate I28 sodium thiosulfate 121 ff. - applications 122 - manufacture 122 sol-gel process 390 sore1 cement 4 12 stoneware 456 strontium 242 - applications 242 - natural deposits 242 strontium carbonate 242 sulfur 101 ff. - applications I04 - economic importance 104 - manufacture 102 ff. - - Claus process 102 ff. - - Outukumpu process 103 - occunence 101 ff. sulfur dichloride 1 18 sulfur dioxide I06 ff., I 16 ff. - applications 1 17 - from flue gas desulfurization 1 16 - manufacture 106 ff., 1 16 ff. sulfur hexafluoride 143 ff. sulfuric acid 104 ff. - applications I I5 - economic importance 104 - from sulfur dioxide 105 ff. - - contact process I 10 ff. - - double absorption process 11 1 ff. - - tluidiLed bed process 112 - - moist gas catalysis process 112 ff. - - nitrous process I I3 - - sulfur trioxide absorption 1 I I - - tailgas treatment I 12 - from waste sulfuric acid I 13 ff.


Bayer Bertrams process I 15 Plinke process I 15 sulfur trioxide 1 17 ff. - applications 1 17 - manufacture 1 I0 ff., I 17 sulfuryl chloride I I9 ff. superphosphate - economic importance I88 - manufacture I90 ff. - -

- -

talc 537 ff. tantalum carbide 488 tantalum nitride 492 tetrafluoroboric acid 142 ff. tetrapotassium diphosphate 77 ff. - manufacture 80 textile glass fibers - applications 369 ff. - classification 365 - economic importance 364 ff. - general information 364 ff. - inanufacture 366 ff. - - direct melt process 367 - - marble melt process 367 - - rod drawing process 367 - raw materials 366 textile glass mats 368 ff thermal and basic slag phosphates - economic importance and manufacture I89 ff. thionyl chloride 123 - applications 123 - manufacture 123 thiophosphoric acid derivatives 94 ff. Thomas phosphates I90 ff. thorium carbide 49 I thorium(1V) oxide 462 titanates 464 titanium carbide 487 titanium diboride 493 titanium dioxide 553 ff titanium dioxide pigments 553 ff titanium nitride 492 f. trialkyl phospites 97 triaryl phosphites 97 triple superphosphate - economic importance I88 - manufacture I91 ff. tungsten carbide 489 f ultramarine pigments 577



uranium - economic

importance 592 ff. - occurrence 592 ff., 600 ff. uranium 235 enrichment 609 ff. - gas centrifuge process 6 10 - gas diffusion process 609 ff. - laser isotope separation 610 - nozzle separation process 6 10 uranium carbide 49 1 uranium hexafluoride 142, 607 ff. - conversion into nuclear fuel 610 ff.

uranium hexafluoride from uranium concentrates 607 ff. - dry process 609 - general information 607 - wet process 607 ff. uranium(IV) oxide 594 ff., 599,610 ff., 462 - pellet manufacture 6 12 ff.

uranium(1V) oxide from uranium hexafluoride 610 ff. - dry process 6 12 - general information 6 10 ff -wet processes 61 1 ff.

uranium production - from phosphates 605 ff. - from seawater 606 ff.

uranium production from ores 600 ff. - leaching processes 600 ff. - separation from leaching solutions 602 ff. urea 45 - economic importance 198 ff. urea manufacture 20 1 ff. - solution recycling process 202 ff. - stripping process 204 ff. vanadium carbide 487 vanadium(V) oxide 84, 1 10 water 1 ff.

- chlorination 3 ff., 8

- deionized 8 - desalination 2, 8, I0 ff. - economic importance 1 ff. - nitrate removal 6 - ozonization 3 ff. - potable water 2 - production 10 ff.

from sea and brackish water 10 ff. by destillation 1 0 ff. - - by reverse osmosis 1 1 ff. - purification 2 ff. - removal of inorganic impurities 5 ff. - removal of organic impurities 8 ff. - usage 1 water glass 338 - - -

wet chemically manufactured silicas 540 ff.

wet chemically manufactured silicates 540 ff. wet process acid 68 ff. whiskers 394 ff. white cement 4 1 I white phosphorus -

manufacture 82 ff.

white pigments 552 ff woodstone 4 12 woven carbon 38 1 yellow cake 600,603 ff. yttrium oxide 462 zeolites 340 ff. - applications -

347 ff.

- ion exchangers 347

- - adsorption agents 347 ff. - - separation processes 348 ff. - - catalysts 349 -characteristics 343 - dehydration 347 - economic importance 340 ff. - manufacture 344 ff. - - by cation exchange 346 - - from natural rilw materials 344 - - from synthetic raw materials 344 ff - natural types 344 - pelletization 346 ff. - structure 34 1 ff. - types 34 1 zinc bromide 180 zinc oxide white pigments 560 f zinc sulfide pigments 559 f zirconium carbide 488 zirconium nitride 492 zirconium(1V) oxide 46 I zirkaloy 6 14